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Elizabeth J Luna PhD

TitleProfessor Emeritus
InstitutionUMass Chan Medical School
AddressUMass Chan Medical School
377 Plantation Street
Worcester MA 01605
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    Other Positions
    InstitutionT.H. Chan School of Medicine

    InstitutionUMass Chan Programs, Centers and Institutes
    DepartmentCancer Center

    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL, United StatesBAChemistry
    Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, United StatesPH DPhysical Chemistry

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview

    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.


    Collapse 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.

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    Newest   |   Oldest   |   Most Cited   |   Most Discussed   |   Timeline   |   Field Summary   |   Plain Text
    PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Smith TC, Vasilakos G, Shaffer SA, Puglise JM, Chou CH, Barton ER, Luna EJ. Novel ?-sarcoglycan interactors in murine muscle membranes. Skelet Muscle. 2022 01 22; 12(1):2. PMID: 35065666.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    2. Hedberg-Oldfors C, Meyer R, Nolte K, Abdul Rahim Y, Lindberg C, Karason K, Thuestad IJ, Visuttijai K, Geijer M, Begemann M, Kraft F, Lausberg E, Hitpass L, G?tzl R, Luna EJ, Lochm?ller H, Koschmieder S, Gramlich M, Gess B, Elbracht M, Weis J, Kurth I, Oldfors A, Knopp C. Loss of supervillin causes myopathy with myofibrillar disorganization and autophagic vacuoles. Brain. 2020 08 01; 143(8):2406-2420. PMID: 32779703.
      Citations: 11     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    3. Luna EJ. Unconventional myosins muscle into myofibrils. J Biol Chem. 2019 05 03; 294(18):7219-7220. PMID: 31053679.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    4. Smith TC, Saul RG, Barton ER, Luna EJ. Generation and characterization of monoclonal antibodies that recognize human and murine supervillin protein isoforms. PLoS One. 2018; 13(10):e0205910. PMID: 30332471.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    5. 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. PMID: 27415442.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    6. 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. PMID: 25655724.
      Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    7. 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 01; 24(9):2470-81. PMID: 25605665.
      Citations: 14     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    8. 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. PMID: 24726641.
      Citations: 23     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    9. 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. PMID: 24088567.
      Citations: 17     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    10. Fang Z, Luna EJ. Supervillin-mediated suppression of p53 protein enhances cell survival. J Biol Chem. 2013 Mar 15; 288(11):7918-7929. PMID: 23382381.
      Citations: 22     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    11. 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. PMID: 23075227.
      Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    12. 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 05; 125(22):2762-71. PMID: 22550155.
      Citations: 15     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    13. 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 01; 125(Pt 9):2300-14. PMID: 22344260.
      Citations: 50     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    14. Smith TC, Fang Z, Luna EJ. Novel interactors and a role for supervillin in early cytokinesis. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2010 Jun; 67(6):346-64. PMID: 20309963.
      Citations: 36     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    15. 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. PMID: 20331534.
      Citations: 41     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    16. 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. PMID: 19109420.
      Citations: 36     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    17. 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 01; 120(Pt 21):3792-803. PMID: 17925381.
      Citations: 30     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    18. 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. PMID: 16880273.
      Citations: 36     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    19. 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. PMID: 15466235.
      Citations: 50     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    20. 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 01; 117(Pt 21):5043-57. PMID: 15383618.
      Citations: 29     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    21. 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. PMID: 12917436.
      Citations: 32     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    22. 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 01; 116(Pt 11):2261-75. PMID: 12711699.
      Citations: 31     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
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