Susan L. Cumberledge

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts

S. Cumberledge Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Web Page

Ph.D.: University of California at Santa Barbara
Postdoctoral Training: Stanford University; University of Utah

Signal Transduction in Development and Tumorogenesis

We study how cell-cell communication regulates normal growth and development in the animal. Embryonic cells decide when to divide and what to become based, in part, on signals received from neighboring cells. Miscommunication can alter patterns of cell division and cell movement, leading to birth defects as well as a variety of cancers. The signal transduction pathways that control intercellular communication are often highly conserved through evolution. Our work focuses on the Drosophila gene wingless and its mouse homologue the oncogene Wnt-1. These proteins play a key role in cell signalling, and have been shown to regulate epidermal pattern formation, neuronal development, and cell proliferation. But how does one signal transduction pathway regulate so many seemingly disparate events? How is the signal transmitted from cell to cell? What factors define ligand-receptor specificity? We are using a combination of genetic and biochemical techniques to address these questions in our studies.

Representative publications:

Alexander, C. M., F. Reichsman, M. T. Hinkes, J. Lincecum, K. A. Becker, S. Cumberledge and M. Bernfield (2000). "Syndecan-1 is required for Wnt-1-induced mammary tumorigenesis in mice." Nat Genet 25(3): 329-32.

Uren, A., F. Reichsman, V. Anest, W. G. Taylor, K. Muraiso, D. P. Bottaro, S. Cumberledge and J. S. Rubin (2000). "Secreted frizzled-related protein-1 binds directly to Wingless and is a biphasic modulator of Wnt signaling." J Biol Chem 275(6): 4374-82.

Barnes, M. R., R. B. Russell, R. R. Copley, C. P. Ponting, P. Bork, S. Cumberledge, F. Reichsman and H. M. Moore (1999). "A lipid-binding domain in Wnt: a case of mistaken identity?" Curr Biol 9(19): R717-9.

Reichsman, F., H. M. Moore and S. Cumberledge (1999). "Sequence homology between Wingless/Wnt-1 and a lipid-binding domain in secreted phospholipase A2." Curr Biol 9(10): R353-5.

Cumberledge, S. and F. Reichsman (1997). "Glycosaminoglycans and WNTs: just a spoonful of sugar helps the signal go down." Trends Genet 13(11): 421-3.

Luehrsen, K. R., L. L. Marr, E. van der Knaap and S. Cumberledge (1997). "Analysis of differential display RT-PCR products using fluorescent primers and GENESCAN software." Biotechniques 22(1): 168-74.

Cumberledge, S. and Reichsman, F. (1997) Glycosaminoglycans and Wnts. Trends in Genetics 13, 221-25.

Reichsman, F., Smith, L. and Cumberledge, S. (1996) Glycosaminoglycans Can Mediate Extracellular Localization of the wingless Protein and Promote Signal Transduction. Journal of Cell Biology 135, 819-827.

Luehrsen, K.R., Marr, L.L., van der Knaap, E. and Cumberledge, S. (1996) Analysis of Differential Display RT-PCR Products Using Fluorescent Primers and GeneScan Software. Biotechniques 277, 32-33.

Cumberledge, S. and Krasnow, M. (1994) Purification of Specific Embryonic Cell Types Using FACS. In: Methods in Cell Biology, (Goldstein, L.S.B. and Fryberg, E.A., eds.), Elsevier, pp. 349-370.

Cumberledge, S. and Krasnow, M. (1993) Intercellular Signalling in Drosophila Segment Formation Reconstructed in vitro. Nature 363, 549-552.