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The University of Southampton
Interdisciplinary Research Excellence

IfLS Seminar: Dr Marisa Martin-Fernandez Event

Dr Martin-Fernandez
10:00 - 11:00
14 November 2014
Room 1007 Building 67 Highfield Campus

For more information regarding this event, please email .

Event details

EGF receptor structure-function relationships in the cell nano-environment

The human epidermal growth factor receptor family of receptor tyrosine kinases (HER1-4) are initiators of signals for cell proliferation, differentiation, survival, and transformation. These receptors have an extracellular growth factor-binding domain (ECD), a single-pass transmembrane region, and an intracellular domain that in HER1, HER2 and HER4 has tyrosine kinase activity.

The activation of the HER family is triggered by the binding of small growth factor polypeptide ligands and involves the formation of homo and hetero dimers of these receptors. Oligomers are also commonly observed on cell surface, yet little is known about their structures and their functional role in EGFR signalling. This is largely attributable to the lack of methods with sufficient resolution.

We developed a method based on single molecule nanoscale localisation and super-resolution microscopy to investigate the geometry and size of oligomers of the HER family on the cell surface with ~ 6 nm resolution. By using antagonist and agonist ligands and combining this super-resolution method with fluorescent resonance energy transfer and single particle tracking we are beginning to determine the conformational changes and interactions that regulate in cells HER signal transduction across the plasma membrane.

Background: Human epithelial cells showing variations in fluorescence lifetime of a FRET donor prode bound to EGFR in acceptor-labeled plasma membrane
Foreground: Model of Human EGFR

Speaker information

Dr Marisa Martin-Fernandez,Head of the Functional Biosystems Imaging Group, Central Laser Facility, Science & Technology Facilities Council,Dr Martin-Fernandez was trained as an undergraduate in Physics in Madrid after which she received an international award of excellence to do her PhD in the UK. She subsequently won an SERC Post-Doctoral fellowship with Prof. Joan Bordas and a BBRC Post-Doctoral fellowship with Prof. Gareth Jones to develop new type of microscopes to investigate cellular signal transduction mechanisms relevant to cancer. She was appointed Principal Scientist at the Science and Technology Research Council in 2002. Dr. Martin-Fernandez has run an independent research group since 2003 with a continuous focus in developing novel instrumentation and methods to improve our understanding of cancer at the molecular level and to exploit these instruments to derive models of anti-cancer drug-induced behaviour. She has been recognised with a Research Councils Individual Merit award and a fellowship of the Science and Technology Research Council. She currently heads the Functional Biosystems Imaging group within the Central Laser Facility at the Research Complex at Harwell, which is situated at the Harwell-Oxford Campus, the locus of the largest scientific infrastructure in the UK.

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