University of Pittsburgh Department of Cell Biology
  • Research

    The regulated assembly and organization of specific actin networks drive cell morphology, movement and adhesion. Changes in cell behavior are required to form complex tissue structures during development and must be accompanied by transitions in actin organization. However, the molecular mechanisms governing actin network transitions are poorly understood. The goal of the lab is to understand how actin networks are assembled and organized to regulate cell morphology, movement and adhesion during development. We use a combination of protein biochemistry, cell biology, high-resolution microscopy and developmental biology to study actin dynamics at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels.

  • Publications

    1. Miller PW, Pokutta S, Ghosh A, Almo SC, Weis WI, Nelson WJ, Kwiatkowski AV. Danio rerio αE-catenin is a monomeric F-actin binding protein with distinct properties from Mus musculus αE-catenin. J Biol Chem. 2013 Aug 2;288(31):22324-32. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.458406. Epub 2013 Jun 20. PubMed PMID: 23788645; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3829323.
    2. Kwiatkowski, A.V.*, Maiden, S.L.*, Pokutta, S., Choi, H.J., Nelson, W.J., Weis, W.I., and Hardin, J. (2010). In vitro and in vivo reconstitution of the cadherin-catenin-actin complex from Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107, 14591-14596.
    3. Benjamin JM, Kwiatkowski AV, Yang C, Korobova F, Pokutta S, Svitkina T, Weis WI, Nelson WJ. AlphaE-catenin regulates actin dynamics independently of cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion. J Cell Biol. 2010 Apr 19;189(2):339-52. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200910041. [link]
    4. Kwiatkowski AV, Garner CC, Nelson WJ, Gertler FB. Cell autonomous defects in cortical development revealed by two-color chimera analysis. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2009 May;41(1):44-50. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2009.01.008. Epub 2009 Feb 5. [link]


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