Testing a Model System for Quantifying Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Activation


Program: Materials Science and Engineering

Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) are the second largest family of membrane receptors and regulate critical processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation and motility. They activate in response to ligand binding, which induces their lateral dimerization and subsequent phosphorylation. This activation starts the downstream signaling cascades that allow these receptors to modulate many important functions.

Due to their dysregulation in a variety of diseases, RTKs are important drug targets. However, there is still a large gap in the current knowledge when it comes to quantifying their activity. Having a model system to quantify RTK activation will not only provide novel information but will also pave the way for future response level measurements of these receptors to potential drugs.

In this project, we test and optimize a vesicle based model system for quantifying RTK activation. The vesicle system provides the advantage of a highly controlled environment and can be imaged through confocal microscopy. The intensity data collected from the images of the vesicles can then be analyzed and plotted to quantify RTK activation in response to increasing ligand concentrations.

Kalina Hristova
Ece Ozdemir

Team Members

  • Leonard Steger

Project Links