Muschler Lab

California Pacific CURRENTS: The online journal of CPMC Research Institute

Cell adhesion molecules
Cell adhesion molecules reside on the surface of cells and mediate attachment between cells (green) or between cells and the surrounding matrix (blue) in normal tissues. Discovery researchers at CPMCRI are investigating changes on the surface of cancer cells, particularly the extracellular matrix receptor dystroglycan. New insights into the molecular changes underlying cancer progression are helping lead to novel and more personalized treatments for the illness.

In healthy tissues, cell-to-cell and cell-to-extracellular matrix attachments guide cell orientation, growth and function. But without proper adhesion and signaling, cells lose normal functioning, and such changes in adhesion may lead to aberrant cell growth and cancer progression.

The Muschler lab is investigating how alterations in cell-to –extracellular matrix interactions arise and how these changes contribute to various cancers. Our studies have shown that loss of function in the extracellular matrix receptor dystroglycan is a hallmark of aggressive cancers, and we are studying how these processes promote cancer cell growth and metastasis.

Our lab is developing new strategies to slow cancer progression and/or destroy cancerous cells. These strategies involve manipulating cell-to extracellular matrix interactions and targeting the modified dystroglycan receptor on cancer cells.

Lead Investigator
Current Projects
  • Roles of dystroglycan and BCAM in metastatic cancers
  • Roles of altered extracellular matrix synthesis in cancer progression
  • Targeting of cancers through post-translational protein modifications on cancer cells