Vania M. M. Braga

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Cadherins are calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion molecules that require the interaction of the cytoplasmic tail with the actin cytoskeleton for adhesive activity. Because of the functional relationship between cadherin receptors and actin filament organization, we investigated whether members of the Rho family of small GTPases are necessary for cadherin(More)
Cadherins are cell-cell adhesion receptors whose adhesive function requires their association with the actin cytoskeleton via proteins called catenins. The small guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases), Rho and Rac, are intracellular proteins that regulate the formation of distinct actin structures in different cell types. In keratinocytes and in other(More)
BACKGROUND Cell-cell adhesion and intracellular trafficking are regulated by signaling pathways from small GTPases of the Rho, Arf, and Rab subfamilies. How signaling from distinct small GTPases are integrated in a given process is poorly understood. RESULTS We find that a TBC/RabGAP protein, Armus, integrates signaling between Arf6, Rac1, and Rab7 during(More)
Cell migration requires extension of lamellipodia that are stabilized by formation of adhesive complexes at the leading edge. Both processes are regulated by signaling proteins recruited to nascent adhesive sites that lead to activation of Rho GTPases. The Ajuba/Zyxin family of LIM proteins are components of cellular adhesive complexes. We show that cells(More)
Uncontrolled cell proliferation and cytoskeletal remodeling are responsible for tumor development and ultimately metastasis. A number of studies have implicated microRNAs in the regulation of cancer cell invasion and migration. Here, we show that miR-23b regulates focal adhesion, cell spreading, cell-cell junctions and the formation of lamellipodia in(More)
The epidermis is a multilayered squamous epithelium in which dividing basal cells withdraw from the cell cycle and progressively differentiate as they are displaced toward the skin surface. Eventually, the cells lose their nucleus and other organelles to become flattened squames, which are finally shed from the surface as bags of cross-linked keratin(More)
The mechanisms underlying downregulation of the cadherin/catenin complexes and beta-catenin signaling during tumor progression are not fully understood. We have analyzed the effect of oncogenic H-Ras on E-cadherin/catenin complex formation/stabilization and beta-catenin distribution in epidermal keratinocytes. Microinjection or stable expression of V12Ras(More)
Maintenance of stable E-cadherin-dependent adhesion is essential for epithelial function. The small GTPase Rac is activated by initial cadherin clustering, but the precise mechanisms underlying Rac-dependent junction stabilization are not well understood. Ajuba, a LIM domain protein, colocalizes with cadherins, yet Ajuba function at junctions is unknown. We(More)
Cell-cell junctions are an integral part of epithelia and are often disrupted in cancer cells during epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is a main driver of metastatic spread. We show here that Metastasis suppressor-1 (Mtss1; Missing in Metastasis, MIM), a member of the IMD-family of proteins, inhibits cell-cell junction disassembly in wound(More)
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process that enables catabolic and degradative pathways. These pathways commonly depend on vesicular transport controlled by Rabs, small GTPases inactivated by TBC/RabGAPs. The Rac1 effector TBC/RabGAP Armus (TBC1D2A) is known to inhibit Rab7, a key regulator of lysosomal function. However, the precise coordination(More)