Role of fibroblast growth factor receptor in regulation of membrane traffic

  • Navin David Rathnakumar

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Several studies show that membrane transport mechanisms are regulated by signalling molecules. Recently, genome-wide screen analyses in C.elegans have enabled scientists to identify novel regulators in membrane trafficking and also signalling molecules which are found to couple with this machinery. Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) via binding to fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) mediate signals which are essential in the development of an organism, patterning, cell migration and tissue homeostasis. Impaired FGFR-mediated signalling has been associated with various developmental, neoplastic, metabolic and neurological diseases and cancer. In this study, the potential role of FGFR-mediated signalling pathway as a regulator of membrane trafficking was investigated. The GFP-tagged yolk protein YP170-GFP trafficking was analysed in worms where 1) FGFR signalling cascade components were depleted by RNAi and 2) in mutant animals. From these results, it was found that the disruption of the genes egl-15 (FGFR), egl-17(FGF), let-756(FGF), sem-5, let-60, lin-45, mek-2, mpk-1 and plc-3 lead to abnormal localization of YP170-GFP, suggesting that signalling downstream of FGFR via activation of MAPK and PLC-γ pathway is regulating membrane transport. The route of trafficking was further investigated, to pinpoint which membrane step is regulated by worm FGFR, by analysing a number of GFP-tagged intracellular membrane markers in the intestine of Wild Type (WT) and FGFR mutant worms. FGFR mutant worms showed a significant difference in the localisation of several endosomal membrane markers, suggesting its regulatory role in early and recycling steps of endocytosis. Finally, the trafficking of transferrin in a mammalian NIH/3T3 cell line was investigated to identify the conservation of these membrane trafficking regulatory mechanisms between organisms. Results showed no significant changes in transferrin trafficking upon FGFR stimulation or inhibition.
Date of Award23 Feb 2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorThomas Wassmer (Supervisor) & Zita Balklava (Supervisor)

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