Dr. Xu’s group has a long-term interest in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs)’ signaling in chemotaxis of eukaryotic cell, metastasis of cancer cells, and viral infections, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections and current COVID-19. Chemotaxis is directional cell migration guided by extracellular chemoattractant gradients. This cellular behavior of eukaryotic cells plays a critical role in many physiological processes, such as embryogenesis, neuron patterning, angiogenesis, innate immune responses to infections, metastasis of cancer cells, and the early development of the model organism Dictyostelium. Both Dictyostelium and neutrophil use G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), the largest groups of receptors in eukaryotic organisms that play pivotal roles in many processes closely related to human health and disease, to sense and move toward higher concentrations of extracellular chemoattractants. Applying state-of-art imaging technologies, Dr. Xu’s research proposed and identified locally recruited Ras inhibitors, C2GAP1 and CAPRI in Dictyostelium and human neutrophils, respectively, as essential players in GPCR-mediated Ras adaptation, gradient sensing, and cell sensitivity. Her discoveries suggest an evolutionarily conserved mechanism by which eukaryotic cells gate sensitive concentration ranges of chemoattractant for chemotaxis.
Xuehua Xu, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Scientist, Chemotaxis Signal Section
Specialty(s): Allergy and Immunology, Infectious Disease, Pathology, Medical Microbiology
Ph.D., Tsukuba University, Japan
B.S., M.S., Harbin Normal University, China
HyunGee Ha, B.S.
B.S., University of Maryland
Languages Spoken: Korean