Ruth Chiquet-Ehrismann

Obituary Ruth Chiquet-Ehrismann (1954 - 2015)
The Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research shares its sorrow at the sudden and unexpected death of Ruth Chiquet-Ehrismann, Senior group leader of the FMI and Adjunct professor of the University of Basel, on September 4, 2015. With her passing we have lost a very special colleague.
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Cell communication in growth control and differentiation
Normal development depends on cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions. Cancer cells are impaired in cell adhesion and have lost the ability to respond properly to their environment, which results in overgrowth and metastatic behavior. In contrast to the ECM of normal tissues, tumor ECM contains markedly increased amounts of tenascin-C and less fibronectin. Therefore, we investigate the anti-adhesive and tumor growth-promoting functions of the ECM protein family of tenascins. We analyze the interaction between tenascins and fibronectin and the intracellular signaling pathways in- duced by cell adhesion to these ECM proteins. We have discovered a novel cell surface receptor family that we have termed teneurins. These are transmembrane proteins with a cytoplasmic domain involved in signal transduction and a large extracellular part involved in cell-cell interactions. We are studying their function in adhesion signaling that regulates cell survival, proliferation and differentiation. We use molecular and cell biological techniques with cell cultures and with chicken and Caenorhabditis elegans for in vivo studies.
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