Project idea: VE-cadherin dynamics – Nazila Daneshjou [Smith]

I am interested in understanding the relationship between the activity of monomeric RhoGTPases (mainly Rac1) at adherens junctions (AJs) and the integrity of endothelial barrier. In particular, how activation of Rac1 at AJ influences the dynamic of vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin, the main protein of AJ complex.

My data suggests that Rac1 activation at AJ stabilizes VE-cadherin adhesion by reducing the rate at which VE-cadherin leaves the junction (ie. dissociation). I’d like to use computational modeling technique to validate these results and to see whether the Rac1-induced decrease in VE-cadherin dissociation rate is sufficient to stabilize the cadherins at AJ, as observed in my experimental results.

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