Calcium Signaling in Health and Disease

The Trebak laboratory studies calcium (Ca2+) signaling in mammalian cells. The laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the activation and regulation of calcium channels and in the alteration of calcium channel expression and function during disease. The laboratory uses biochemical, biophysical and molecular imaging approaches to unravel the signalling mechanisms of native Ca2+ permeable channels in cancer cells, vascular and airway smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells. The focus of the laboratory is in two classes of plasma membrane Ca2+ channels: the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels and STIM/ORAI proteins, originally identified as the components of the store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) pathway. More recent interests of the laboratory include the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) and the mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCLX). The laboratory seeks to understand the remodeling in expression and modes of activation of these channels and transporters and the downstream signaling pathways and cellular functions they impinge on during cancer cell proliferation and invasion, vascular and airway smooth muscle remodeling and endothelial cell dysfunction. These  molecular and cellular approaches are complemented by the use of animal models of disease and tissue-specific transgenic and knockout mice. The ultimate goal is to provide the rationale necessary for the use of these Ca2+ transport proteins and mechanisms as targets for disease therapy.

Key Words

Cell Signalling, Receptor signalling, Calcium signalling, Ion channel electrophysiology, Smooth muscle biology, Endothelial function, Vascular and airway remodeling, Vascular occlusive disease, Ion channels in Cancer, Ion channels in asthma

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