Determining Signaling Pathways involved in Migration of Hematopoietic Stem Cells upon binding of E-selectin

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


E-selectin is a transmembrane endothelium adhesion protein involved in rolling, arrest and migration of leukocytes as well as in the metastasis of many cancer types. Previous reports suggested that the interactions between E-selectin and its ligands transduce signals into migrating leukocytes and in E-selectin expressing endothelial cells. This study investigates the signaling pathways involved in E-selectin binding to ligands on leukocytes. Using recombinant soluble E-selectin constructs, we simulated the binding of E-selectin to its ligand(s) to reveal important signaling pathways triggered upon these interactions in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. Since phosphorylation is the major post-translational modification, we examined the changes in the phosphorylation profile in tyrosine residues. We found a time-dependent reduction in the phosphotyrosine levels upon E-selectin binding to the AML cell line, KG-1a. The results of this study revealed two tyrosine phosphatases with altered activity after E-selectin treatment. The first is a cytoplasmic, dual-specific, phosphatase known as PTEN which is involved in controlling cell survival and proliferation. The second is CD45, which is a major component of the leukocytes cell membrane responsible for antigen receptor signaling. A more global phosphoproteomics analysis in AML cells revealed large scale changes in the phosphorylation levels after E-selectin treatment. In particular, 2259 phosphorylated proteins were identified, 530 of which portray significant changes in their phosphorylation status. The majority of those proteins are related to nuclear functions and are involved in pathways crucial for the cell cycle. Knowing that E-selectin binding stimulates chemoresistance in cancer cells, the findings of this project can contribute to the identification of multiple pathways responsible for this phenomenon and help towards the development of drugs that may inhibit such pathways in controlling disease.
Date of AwardJul 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorJasmeen Merzaban (Supervisor)


  • E-selectin
  • tyrosine
  • PTEN
  • CD45
  • Phosphoproteomics
  • Cell Cycle

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