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Professor Catherine Nobes

Regulation of cell migration and cancer cell invasion by Eph receptors and ephrins

Our work is of relevance to tumour cell motility and invasion. We are interested in understanding the molecular pathways that direct cancer cells away from the primary tumour and how the tumour microenvironment contributes to cancer cell migration and metastasis.

We work on a phenomenon known as contact inhibition of locomotion; collisions between migrating cells lead to collapse of actin-driven cell protrusions and a change in the direction of migration. Many cancer cells fail to show contact inhibition of locomotion when confronted to normal cells and this switch to attractive migratory behaviour has been suggested to underlie invasive metastasis. We have shown that EphB receptors are upregulated in metastatic prostate cancer cells and are functionally required for attractive migration after contact with stromal fibroblasts and endothelial cells.

My group continues to focus on how Eph-ephrin signalling regulates cell migration and cell-cell interactions in the context of cancer and wound healing.