Regulation of beta-catenin subcellular localisation and trafficking in cancer

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The study will use a range of sophisticated cell imaging techniques (eg. confocal microscopy, live cell imaging, FRAP analysis) and study of protein-protein interactions to analyse the regulation of beta-catenin transport within the cell.


Dr Beric Henderson

Research Location

Westmead - Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Program Type



Beta-catenin is a critical oncogenic factor directly responsible for the progression of several types of cancer. This protein is also the main mediator of the Wnt signaling pathway in embryonic development. Our laboratory at the Westmead Millennium Institute (WMI) previously discovered the nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of beta-catenin and recently characterized its movement to the plasma membrane where it contributes to cell migration. In many cancers, beta-catenin accumulates in the nucleus where it trans-activates genetic programs linked to cell transformation. This PhD study will examine the nuclear transport pathway of beta-catenin and how it might be targeted to regulate beta-catenin cancer activity. The study will also examine the movement and regulated function of beta-catenin at other compartments within the cell. This type of information may identify specific pathways for targeting in anti-cancer strategies, and in fact beta-catenin (>5000 papers published on PubMed) is one of the hottest cancer-associated proteins and potential therapeutic targets under study today. The Westmead Millennium Institute is a leading medical research institute housing state-of-the-art molecular and cell biology services and facilities for analysis of proteins and cells in a range of disease states.

Additional Information

Techniques to be used will include live cell imaging to track cell migration, transfection and microscopic imaging of protein localization inside cells, confocal microscopy and analysis of protein movement in live cells, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, protein analysis by western blotting and immunoprecipitation, possibly some protein-protein interaction studies using yeast two hybrid approach. Most likely the candidate will need to apply for scholarship support.

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Cancer, Colon Cancer, Beta-catenin, wnt signaling, cell migration, protein trafficking, Cell biology, nuclear transport, APC protein, Cancer & leukaemia, Genes in biology & medicine

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 195