August 2010

Meeting Theme: Signal Transduction from the Plasma Membrane to the Nucleus


Sessions in the ASBMB annual meeting theme "Signal Transduction from the Plasma Membrane to the Nucleus" will look at janus kinase-STAT transcription factors, intracellular signaling, innate immunity and circadian rhythms. The meeting will be held April 9-13, 2011, in Washington, D.C. (Titled "Signaling from the Plasma Membrane to the Nucleus" in print version.)


Meetings---Samuel Meetings---OMalley
Charles E. Samuel Karen L. O'Malley

Complex signaling networks govern the function of all cells, allowing them to respond to diverse environmental stimuli and carry out specific cellular tasks. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the vast array of signaling pathways continues to be one of the most intensely studied areas of cell biology. The 2011 annual meeting theme, “Signal Transduction from the Plasma Membrane to the Nucleus,” will explore exciting progress in four areas that span disciplines from microbiology and immunology to neurobiology and physiology.

Janus Kinase-STAT Transcription Factors

On Sunday, April 10, the first session of the theme, titled “STATus of JAKs and STATs in JAK/STAT Signaling,” will examine three aspects of the Janus kinase-STAT transcription factor signaling paradigm. Originally identified as downstream mediators of interferon signaling, four JAKs and seven STATS are utilized in overlapping combinations in signaling by the large family of cytokine receptors.

Sandra Pellegrini (Institut Pasteur) will describe signaling responses elicited by binding of α and β interferons to their cognate receptor. Curt M. Horvath (Northwestern University) will discuss mechanisms by which negative-stranded RNA viruses target STAT proteins and disrupt their signaling activities. STAT factors also play important roles in cell growth and differentiation. John J. O’Shea (National Institutes of Health) will provide insights into T cell differentiation using genome-wide analysis of epigenetic changes and STAT transcription factor binding. As a prelude to this theme, on Saturday, April 9, George Stark, a co-discoverer of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway, will give the Herbert Tabor/Journal of Biological Chemistry Lectureship.

Click here for more 2011 annual meeting thematic overviews.

For information on  annual meeting registration, housing and abstract submission, click here.

Intracellular Signaling

Although dogma holds that cells respond to extracellular signals via activation of cell surface proteins such as growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and G protein-coupled receptors, emerging evidence suggests that many of these same channels and receptors function from intracellular locations as well. On April 11, some of these possibilities will be explored during the second signal transduction session, titled “Signaling from New and ‘Arrestin’ Sites.”

Signal Transduction from the Plasma Membrane to the Nucleus

Session: STATus of JAKs and STATs in JAK/STAT Signaling
Parameters Governing Binding and Signaling Responses of Interferons α and β, Sandra Pellegrini, Institut Pasteur

Regulation of JAK-STAT Signaling by RNA Viruses, Curt M. Horvath, Northwestern University

Insights into T Cell Differentiation using Genome-wide Analysis of Epigenetic Changes and Transcription Factor Binding, John J. O’Shea, National Institutes of Health

Session: Signaling from New and “Arrestin” Sites
Retrograde Response Genes and Neuronal Survival, Rosalind A. Segal, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

β Arrestin-dependent Signaling of Dopamine D2 Receptor in the CNS: Opportunities for Functionally Selective Therapeutic Approaches? Marc G. Caron, Duke University Medical Center

Signaling from the Inside: Functions of Intracellular Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor, mGluR5, Karen L. O’Malley, Washington University Medical School

Session: Sensors and Adapters
in Innate Immunity

Signaling by Toll-like Receptors and Nalp3 in Inflammation and Innate Immunity, Luke A. J. O’Neill, Trinity College

The Nucleotide-binding Domain-, Leucine-rich Repeat-containing Protein (NLR) Family of Intracellular Sensors, Jenny P.-Y. Ting, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Protein Kinase PKR as an RNA Sensor in Innate Immunity, Charles E. Samuel, University of California, Santa Barbara

Session: Synchronizing the Synchronizers
The Secrets of Synchronizing Circadian Pacemaker Cells, Michael Hastings, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Genetic Dissection of Neural Circuit Physiology, Michael N. Nitabach, Yale University School of Medicine

Molecular Genetics of Human Sleep Variants, Ying-Hui Fu, University of California, San Francisco

Rosalind A. Segal (Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) will describe how RTKs such as Trk receptors are internalized along with bound ligands to form “signaling endosomes.” These can serve as retrograde carriers that traffic back to the nucleus, affecting transcription and neuronal survival. Marc G. Caron (Duke University Medical Center) will then discuss signaling pathways that are activated by β arrestin proteins binding to dopamine receptors and how β arrestin signals differ from those mediated by G proteins. Finally, Karen L. O’Malley (Washington University Medical School) will present data showing that some G protein-coupled receptors primarily are expressed on intracellular membranes, including the nucleus, where they can influence unique cellular responses.

Innate Immunity

The third session of the signaling theme, on April 12, is titled “Sensors and Adaptors in Innate Immunity.” Two of the classes of pattern recognition receptors that initiate signaling cascades in response to pathogen infection are Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and NOD (nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain)-like receptors (NLRs). The TLRs and NLRs act through adaptor proteins to trigger the innate immune response and inflammation.

Luke A. J. O’Neill (Trinity College) will describe recent advances in understanding signaling by TLRs, and Jenny P.-Y. Ting (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) will focus on the NLRs as regulators of innate immunity and inflammation. Finally, the protein kinase PKR is an RNA-regulated enzyme involved in the action and induction of interferon. Charles E. Samuel (University of California, Santa Barbara) will discuss the mechanism by which PKR functions as an RNA sensor in innate antiviral immunity.

Circadian Rhythms

Almost all organisms possess an internal biological clock that coordinates physiology and behavior with the outside world. The fourth session, on Wednesday, April 13, titled “Synchronizing the Synchronizers,” will explore how circadian rhythms are generated, how they are linked intimately with sleep and how they are maintained by complex autoregulatory signals.

Michael Hastings (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology) will discuss how circadian pacemaker cells are synchronized. Michael N. Nitabach (Yale University School of Medicine) will use Drosophila as a model system to explore the neural circuitry underlying circadian rhythms. And, finally, Ying-Hui Fu (University of California, San Francisco) will describe exciting new studies that molecularly dissect human sleep variants.

To stimulate new ideas and present cutting-edge research, each symposium will include three short talks selected from submitted abstracts. Young investigators (faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students) are encouraged to submit an abstract for possible inclusion in one of the selected symposia.

Given the rapid pace at which each of these areas is advancing, the 2011 signal transduction theme promises to be very exciting and informative.

Charles E. Samuel ( is the C.A. Storke II professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology as well as a professor of biomedical sciences and engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Karen L. O’Malley ( is a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the Washington University Medical School.

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