Dr. Klaus Hahn and colleagues publish back-to-back articles highlighted in Nature in the Sept. 3, 2009 issue describing breakthrough research increating new tools to study how protein signaling affects cell behavior. Dr. Hahn's paper, entitled "A genetically encoded photoactivatable Rac controls the motility of living cells," was highlighted by Nature in their media announcements. The paper describes how creating a photoactivatable Rac1 protein allowed them to manipulate the activities of a cell using light, including being able to control cell motility. To see movies of the cell moving, check out the supplemental links at the end of the Nature article.
First author on the paper is Yi I. Wu, Research Assistant Professor, in the UNC Pharmacology Department. Other contributing authors are: Daniel Frey of the Max Planck Institute, Oana I. Lungu, Graduate Student in the UNC Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Angelika Jaehrig, of the UNC Pharmacology Department, Ilme Schlichting of the Max Planck Institute, and Brian Kuhlman, Associate Professor in the UNC Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Yi I. Wu, Oana I. Lungu, Brian Kuhlman and Klaus M. Hahn are also members of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The research for this paper was supported by the American Heart Association (Y.I.W.) and the National Institutes of Health (K.M.H. grants GM057464 and GM64346).
A related second paper published with Dr. Gaudenz Danuser, of the Scripps Institute, entitled, "Coordination of Rho GTPase activities during cell protrusion" was published in the same issue. Read more: Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center news release: "Breakthrough uses light to manipulate cell movement."
First Author on the second paper is Mathias Machecek of the Scripps Research Institute Department of Biology. Current and former members of the Hahn Lab who contributed to this paper are: Louis Hodgson, currently Assistant Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Christopher Welch, PhD/MD student in the UNC Department of Pharmacology; Olivier Pertz, currently Assistant Professor of the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basil; Amy Abell, Research Assistant Professor, UNC Department of Pharmacology; and Gary L. Johnson, Professor and Chair, UNC Department of Pharmacology. Hunter Elliott of the Department of Cell Biology at Scripps Research Institute is also a contributing author.
The research for this paper was supported bythe Swiss National Science Foundation and the Novartis Foundation, formerly the Ciba-Geigy Jubilee Foundation (M.M.), NIH T32 GM008719 and NIH F30 HL094020 (C.W.), NIH R01 GM57464 (K.M.H.), NIH R01 GM71868 (G.D.), and the Cell Migration Consortium, grant U54 GM064346 from NIGMS (G.D. and K.M.H.).