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Maitreyi Das

Contact Info

FacultyDasMaitreyi Das
Assistant Professor, BCMB

Office: WLS, F-235: (865-974-3612)

Lab: WLS, F-209, -210: (865-974-4307)


PhD, Biosciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India

Research Statement

The long-term goal of our lab is to understand the basic mechanism of cell shape and form establishment. Recent studies including our own have shown that cell shape establishment follows self-organization principles. This is indicative of intermolecular regulatory pathways that are controlled both spatially and temporally. Our research focuses on understanding these higher-order molecular networks that result in the emergence of cell shape. To achieve this we use single-cell systems biology with a combination of experimental and quantitative imaging approaches.

das_research1The major regulator of cell shape and growth is the conserved Rho GTPase, Cdc42. Cdc42 is activated when it binds GTP while inactivated when it hydrolyzes GTP to GDP. Cdc42 activation is brought about by GEFs (Guanidine exchange factors), while GAPs (GTPase activating protein) inactivate Cdc42 (Fig.1). Our recent studies have shown that in fission yeast Cdc42 activation undergoes anti-correlated oscillations between the two cell tips (Fig.2, Das et al, 2012). This is indicative of self-organization of Cdc42. Our studies suggest that Cdc42 oscillations maintain cell width and promote bipolar growth (Das et al, 2012). In fission yeast Cdc42 is activated by two GEFs, Scd1 and Gef1, and inactivated by the GAP, Rga4. Our current research is focused on understanding the molecular details of Cdc42 activation and self-organization in the control of cell polarity and cell division.



Lab webpage:

Selected Publications

Das M, Suarez I, Wiley D J and Verde F. “Orb6/NDR kinase maintains cell polarity through spatial regulation of Cdc42 GEF, Gef1.” in preparation.

Wiley D J, Das M and Verde F. “Orb6 kinase regulates cell growth and protein synthesis through the regulation of the RNA binding protein Sts5.” in preparation.

Das M*, Drake T*, Wiley DJ, Buchwald P, Vavylonis D, Verde F. “Oscillatory Dynamics of Cdc42 GTPase in the Control of Polarized Growth.” Science, 2012; Jul 13;337 (6091):239-43. Recommend in Faculty of 1000 Biology and highlighted in Editors’ Choice Cell Biology “Pole to Pole” Sci. Signal. 17 July 2012. * Co-authors

Das M, Chiron S and Verde F. “Microtubule-dependent spatial organization of mitochondria in fission yeast.” Methods in Cell Biology, 2010; 97, 203-21

Das M, Wiley D J, Chen X, Shah K and Verde F. “Conserved NDR kinase Orb6 controls polarized cell growth by spatial regulation of the small GTPase Cdc42.” Current Biology, 2009; 19, 1314-19. This article was recommended in Faculty of 1000 Biology.

Das M*, Wiley D J*, Medina S, Vincent H, Larrea M, Oriolo A and Verde F. “Regulation of cell diameter, For3p localization and cell symmetry by fission yeast Rho-GAP Rga4p.” Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2007; 18, 2090-101. This article was highlighted in InCytes in the June Issue of Molecular Biology of the Cell as well as American Society for Cell Biology newsletter. * Co-authors

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