PhD ceremony: A. Kortholt, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Thesis: Chemotaxis: a complex network of interconnecting pathways and amplification loops
Promotor(s): prof. P.J.M. van Haastert, prof. A. Wittinghofer
Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences
In his thesis Arjan Kortholt gives further insight into the molecular mechanism of chemotaxis. Chemotaxis, or directional movement towards a chemical compound, is an essential property of many cells and is fundamentally important for processes as diverse as the sourcing of nutrients by prokaryotes, the organisation of the embryo in metazoa, the formation of multicellular structures in protazoa and the migration of lymphocytes during immune response. Chemotaxis is also linked to the development and progression of many diseases including asthma, arthritis and cancers. Therefore, further insight into the molecular mechanism of chemotaxis is important for the understanding of many biological processes. Until recently, the general concept of chemotaxis was rather simplistic, involving an uniqueand essential signalling pathway regulating directional movement. However in the thesis of Kortholt it is shown that instead of one essential pathway, chemotaxis is mediated by a complex network of interconnecting signalling pathways, amplification loops, and feedback control mechanisms. In this work he characterized several of these pathways, interactions and amplification loops important for proper chemotaxis of Dictyostelium. All results were translated in a new model for chemotaxis. Although his work contributed to the understanding of chemotaxis, establishment of cell polarity and symmetry breaking, it also raised many new interesting questions. Therefore his model may not only provide a framework for the basic understanding of chemotaxis, but may also provide a starting point for new exciting research.
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