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    Last Name

    Elizabeth J Luna PhD

    TitleProfessor Emeritus
    InstitutionUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
    AddressUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
    377 Plantation Street
    Worcester MA 01605
      Other Positions
      InstitutionUMMS - School of Medicine

      InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
      DepartmentCell Biology

      InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
      DepartmentImmunology and Virology

      InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
      DepartmentInterdisciplinary Graduate Program

      InstitutionUMMS - Programs, Centers and Institutes
      DepartmentCancer Center

      InstitutionUMMS - Programs, Centers and Institutes
      DepartmentProgram in Cell Dynamics


        Cell and Developmental Biology Department

        Academic Background

        B.A., Chemistry, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 1972

        Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Stanford University, 1977.

        NIH postdoctoral fellow, Cell and Molecular Biology, The Biological Laboratories,Harvard University, 1977-81

        Princeton University, Biology Department, 1981-88

        The Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, 1988-97

        University of Massachusetts Medical School,1989-present

        Mechanochemical Signal Transduction, Muscular Dystrophy

        Cells modulate their internal stiffness (cortical tension) in response to external forces, such as the stiffness or chemical composition of their extracellular environment.  Poorly understood signaling pathways downstream of mechanical stimulation regulate cell growth, survival and differentiation.  Increased stiffness of the extracellular matrix (ECM) can promote tumor growth or lead to increased size (hypertrophy) of muscles.  Cross-talk between these growth and survival pathways is limits some cancer treatments, resulting in choices between cancer reoccurrence and heart failure.
        Our laboratory is interested in how the signaling and cytoskeletal proteins at the plasma membrane transduce signals arising from extracellular force into cellular responses.  We have linked membrane proteins known for their roles in muscular dystrophies to signaling pathways understood best for their roles during tumor cell growth and migration.  We are finding both similarities and differences between these pathways in tumor and other nonmuscle cells versus skeletal muscle and heart cells.  We aim to both increase our basic understanding of stiffness-sensing biochemical sensing and to identify cell type-specific interactions that can be targeted for chemotherapeutics and muscular dystrophies.

        Lab Members

        Kay Son, Ph.D.
        Tara Smith, M.S.


        Rotation Projects

        Potential Rotation Projects

        Elizabeth Luna is not accepting new graduate students, but welcomes students interested in learning specific techniques for functional screen for cell motility, adhesion, contractility, or the formation and function of matrix-invading structures (podosomes, invadopodia, invadosomes).  Other techniques under development include mechanochemical and signaling dysfunctions in isolated cells and tissues.

        selected publications
        List All   |   Timeline
        1. Pollock LM, Gupta N, Chen X, Luna EJ, McDermott BM. Supervillin Is a Component of the Hair Cell's Cuticular Plate and the Head Plates of Organ of Corti Supporting Cells. PLoS One. 2016; 11(7):e0158349.
          View in: PubMed
        2. Son K, Smith TC, Luna EJ. Supervillin binds the Rac/Rho-GEF Trio and increases Trio-mediated Rac1 activation. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2015 Jan; 72(1):47-64.
          View in: PubMed
        3. Spinazzola JM, Smith TC, Liu M, Luna EJ, Barton ER. Gamma-sarcoglycan is required for the response of archvillin to mechanical stimulation in skeletal muscle. Hum Mol Genet. 2015 May 1; 24(9):2470-81.
          View in: PubMed
        4. Lawlor MW, Viola MG, Meng H, Edelstein RV, Liu F, Yan K, Luna EJ, Lerch-Gaggl A, Hoffmann RG, Pierson CR, Buj-Bello A, Lachey JL, Pearsall S, Yang L, Hillard CJ, Beggs AH. Differential muscle hypertrophy is associated with satellite cell numbers and Akt pathway activation following activin type IIB receptor inhibition in Mtm1 p.R69C mice. Am J Pathol. 2014 Jun; 184(6):1831-42.
          View in: PubMed
        5. Smith TC, Fridy PC, Li Y, Basil S, Arjun S, Friesen RM, Leszyk J, Chait BT, Rout MP, Luna EJ. Supervillin binding to myosin II and synergism with anillin are required for cytokinesis. Mol Biol Cell. 2013 Dec; 24(23):3603-19.
          View in: PubMed
        6. Fang Z, Luna EJ. Supervillin-mediated suppression of p53 protein enhances cell survival. J Biol Chem. 2013 Mar 15; 288(11):7918-29.
          View in: PubMed
        7. Fedechkin SO, Brockerman J, Luna EJ, Lobanov MY, Galzitskaya OV, Smirnov SL. An N-terminal, 830 residues intrinsically disordered region of the cytoskeleton-regulatory protein supervillin contains Myosin II- and F-actin-binding sites. J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2013 Oct; 31(10):1150-9.
          View in: PubMed
        8. Edelstein LC, Luna EJ, Gibson IB, Bray M, Jin Y, Kondkar A, Nagalla S, Hadjout-Rabi N, Smith TC, Covarrubias D, Jones SN, Ahmad F, Stolla M, Kong X, Fang Z, Bergmeier W, Shaw C, Leal SM, Bray PF. Human genome-wide association and mouse knockout approaches identify platelet supervillin as an inhibitor of thrombus formation under shear stress. Circulation. 2012 Jun 5; 125(22):2762-71.
          View in: PubMed
        9. Bhuwania R, Cornfine S, Fang Z, Kr├╝ger M, Luna EJ, Linder S. Supervillin couples myosin-dependent contractility to podosomes and enables their turnover. J Cell Sci. 2012 May 1; 125(Pt 9):2300-14.
          View in: PubMed
        10. Smith TC, Fang Z, Luna EJ. Novel interactors and a role for supervillin in early cytokinesis. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2010 Jun; 67(6):346-64.
          View in: PubMed
        11. Fang Z, Takizawa N, Wilson KA, Smith TC, Delprato A, Davidson MW, Lambright DG, Luna EJ. The membrane-associated protein, supervillin, accelerates F-actin-dependent rapid integrin recycling and cell motility. Traffic. 2010 Jun; 11(6):782-99.
          View in: PubMed
        12. Crowley JL, Smith TC, Fang Z, Takizawa N, Luna EJ. Supervillin reorganizes the actin cytoskeleton and increases invadopodial efficiency. Mol Biol Cell. 2009 Feb; 20(3):948-62.
          View in: PubMed
        13. Takizawa N, Ikebe R, Ikebe M, Luna EJ. Supervillin slows cell spreading by facilitating myosin II activation at the cell periphery. J Cell Sci. 2007 Nov 1; 120(Pt 21):3792-803.
          View in: PubMed
        14. Takizawa N, Smith TC, Nebl T, Crowley JL, Palmieri SJ, Lifshitz LM, Ehrhardt AG, Hoffman LM, Beckerle MC, Luna EJ. Supervillin modulation of focal adhesions involving TRIP6/ZRP-1. J Cell Biol. 2006 Jul 31; 174(3):447-58.
          View in: PubMed
        15. Peterman TK, Ohol YM, McReynolds LJ, Luna EJ. Patellin1, a novel Sec14-like protein, localizes to the cell plate and binds phosphoinositides. Plant Physiol. 2004 Oct; 136(2):3080-94; discussion 3001-2.
          View in: PubMed
        16. Gangopadhyay SS, Takizawa N, Gallant C, Barber AL, Je HD, Smith TC, Luna EJ, Morgan KG. Smooth muscle archvillin: a novel regulator of signaling and contractility in vascular smooth muscle. J Cell Sci. 2004 Oct 1; 117(Pt 21):5043-57.
          View in: PubMed
        17. Chen Y, Takizawa N, Crowley JL, Oh SW, Gatto CL, Kambara T, Sato O, Li XD, Ikebe M, Luna EJ. F-actin and myosin II binding domains in supervillin. J Biol Chem. 2003 Nov 14; 278(46):46094-106.
          View in: PubMed
        18. Oh SW, Pope RK, Smith KP, Crowley JL, Nebl T, Lawrence JB, Luna EJ. Archvillin, a muscle-specific isoform of supervillin, is an early expressed component of the costameric membrane skeleton. J Cell Sci. 2003 Jun 1; 116(Pt 11):2261-75.
          View in: PubMed
        19. Nebl T, Pestonjamasp KN, Leszyk JD, Crowley JL, Oh SW, Luna EJ. Proteomic analysis of a detergent-resistant membrane skeleton from neutrophil plasma membranes. J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 8; 277(45):43399-409.
          View in: PubMed
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