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Cilia and Basal bodies biology

Team leader: 
Helena Soares
Team members: 
Alexandra Tavares
Rúben Ramalho
Rita Cardoso
Ana Isabel Câmara
Mariana Calapez
Institute or University: 
Centro de Química e Bioquímica, Departamento de Química e Bioquímica Faculdade de Ciências Universidade de Lisboa
Edifício C8 Campo Grande
Research interests: 

Microtubules (Mts) are polarized polymers of α/β-tubulin heterodimers participating in a wide range of cell functions, e.g. cell division, cell signaling, intracellular transport and locomotion. How Mts accomplish this variety of functions is far from being completely understood. Although there is a increasing data concerning this subject, one of the most attractive questions in the field of tubulin/Mt biogenesis is still "how is the functional tubulin 3D-structure achieved in the cell?" and "how is this related with Mt biogenesis, function dynamics and recycling of tubulin heterodimers in vivo?" The maturation of tubulin heterodimers is a complex process involving the interaction of tubulins with several proteins: molecular chaperones (e.g. the cytosolic chaperonin containing TCP1-CCT) and the tubulin cofactors (TBCA-TBCE).Our  main goal is to understand how the components of the tubulin folding pathway control tubulin synthesis, flux, transport and heterodimers recycling and therefore are putative targets for regulation of the assembly of specialized Mt structures like cilia and Mt dynamics.Regarding the biological role of CCT, tubulin cofactors and related proteins research has been focused on studies of:a) how CCT-subunits are involved in biogenesis and maintenance of cilia in the protozoa ciliate Tetrahymena.b) how TBCA gene is regulated and the exact role of the TBCA protein.c) the biological role of the recently described human Cofactor C related protein, TBCC-domain containing 1 (TBCCD1), which we propose to be a key regulator of nucleus-centrosome positioning and consequently of internal cell organization.We are also studying how Mt dynamics in mammalian cells is related to biophysical properties of these polymers, with the goal of establishing nano-devices where Mts and associated motor proteins are used as deliver target systems. Finally, the group is investigating how the cross-talk between the Mt cytoskeleton of the Apicomplexa protozoan parasite Besnoitia besnoiti and Toxoplasma gondii, and the Mt cytoskeleton of the host cell is critical for the event of host cell invasion.

Cilia; Basal bodies/centrosome; cytoskeleton; Tetrahymena; mammalian cells; stress

More recent publications:

  • Carranza, G,  Castaño, R, Fanarraga, ML, Villegas, JC, Gonçalves, J, Soares, H, Avila, J, Marenchino, M,  Campos-Olivas, R.,  Montoya, G. and  Zabala, JC (2012) Autoinhibition of TBCB regulates EB1-mediated microtubule dynamics. Cell Mol Life Sci. in press
  • Nolasco, S., Bellido, J., Gonçalves, J.Tavares, A., Zabala; J. and Soares, H. (2012) The expression of tubulin cofactor A (TBCA) is regulated by a noncoding antisense Tbca RNA during testis maturation. PLoS ONE 7(8): e42536. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042536
  • Tavares, A., Gonçalves, J. , Florindo, C., Tavares, A. and Soares, H. (2012) Mob1: defining cell polarity for proper cell division, J. Cell Sci. 125:516-27.
  • Afonso P. Basto AP,,  Piedade, J, Ramalho, R,  Alves S, Soares, H., Cornelis, P. Martins, C. and Leitão, A. (2012) A new cloning system based on the OprI lipoprotein for the production of recombinant bacterial cell wall-derived immunogenic formulations. J. Biotec. 157:50-63.
  • Gonçalves, J., Tavares, A, Carvalhal, S. and Soares, H. (2010) Revisiting the tubulin folding pathway: new roles in centrosomes and cilia. BioMol Concepts, 1: 423–434
  • Brito, P.H., Guilherme, E., Soares, H. and Gordo, I (2010) Mutation Accumulation in Tetrahymena. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10 :354
  • Seixas, AC., Cruto, T., Gaertig, J. and Soares, H. (2010) CCTα and CCTd chaperonin subunits are essential and required for cilia assembly and maintenance in Tetrahymena PLoS ONE 5(5): e10704. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010704
  • Gonçalves, J, Nolasco,S, Nascimento, R, Lopez Fanarraga, M, Zabala, JC and Soares, H. (2010) TBCCD1, a new centrosomal protein is required for centrosome and Golgi apparatus positioning. EMBO Reports 11:194 – 200
  • Avila, J., Soares H., Fanarraga M.L. and Zabala, J.C. (2008) Isolation of Microtubules and Microtubule Proteins. Curr. Protoc. Cell Biol. 39: 3.29.1-3.29.28
  • Ramalho, R.R.,. Soares, H and Melo, L.V. (2007). Microtubule behavior under strong electromagnetic fields. Mat. Sci. Eng. C. 27:1207–1210

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