Cary Wu, PhD
Professor of Pathology

Dr. Wu, Professor of Pathology and Lombardi and Shinozuka Experimental Pathology Research Chair, is a member of the Section of Laboratory Medicine.

Office Location:
S-707B Scaife Hall
University of Pittsburgh
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-648-2350
Lab Telephone: (412) 624-2471


  • PhD - University of Pittsburgh, 1990

Awards and Honors

  • 2011 - Pitt Innovator Award, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2010 - Pitt Innovator Award, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1998 - V Foundation Scholar, V Foundation for Cancer Research
  • 1996 - Edward Livingston Trudeau Scholar, American Lung Association
  • 1996 - Parker B. Francis Fellow
  • 1996 - Edward C. Kendall Alumni Award for Meritorious Research, Mayo Foundation

Research Interests

Cell-extracellular matrix adhesion is a fundamental process that regulates cell shape, proliferation and differentiation. Abnormalities in cell-matrix adhesion and extracellular matrix assembly are closely associated with the pathogenesis of a variety of human diseases. The goals of our research are (1) to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying cell-extracellular matrix adhesion and signaling and (2) to determine the roles of integrin signaling in human diseases.

To achieve these goals, we are employing a wide variety of molecular and cell biological techniques including molecular cloning, mutagenesis, gene transfer, protein expression, yeast two-hybrid and other protein-protein interaction assays, hybridoma production, cell culture, cell adhesion, cell migration, immunofluorescence microscopy, immunoprecipitation, Northern, Southern and Western blotting, cell proliferation, apoptosis, and immunohistochemistry in our research.

Our studies have shed new light on the molecular basis underlying cell-matrix and cell-cell communications as well as their roles in the pathogenesis of human diseases including diabetic nephropathy and cancer.

Selected Publications

View Dr. Wu's publications on PubMed

  1. Tu, Y., Wu, S., Shi, X., Chen, K. and Wu, C. Migfilin and Mig-2 link focal adhesions to filamin and the actin cytoskeleton and function in cell shape modulation. Cell (2003) 113(1): 37-47.

  2. Fukuda, T., Guo, L., Shi, X. and Wu, C. CH-ILKBP regulates cell survival by facilitating the membrane translocation of Protein kinase B/Akt. J. Cell Biol. (2003) 160(7):1001-1008.

  3. Wu, C. Migfilin and its binding partners: from cell biology to human diseases. J. Cell Sci. (2005) 118: 659-664

  4. Wu, C. PINCH, N(i)ck and the ILK: network wiring at cell-matrix adhesions. Trends in Cell Biology (2005) 15(9):460-466

  5. Chen, K., Tu, Y., Zhang, Y., Blair, H. C., Zhang, L. and Wu, C. PINCH-1 regulates the ERK-Bim pathway and contributes to apoptosis resistance in cancer cells. J. Biol. Chem. (2008) 283(5):2508-2517

  6. Shi, X. and Wu, C. A suppressive role of mitogen inducible gene-2 (Mig-2) in mesenchymal cancer cell invasion. Mol Cancer Res. (2008) 6(5): 715 - 724

  7. Larjava, H., Plow, E. F. and Wu, C. Kindlins: Essential regulators of integrin signaling and cell-matrix adhesion. EMBO Reports (2008) 9(12):1203-1208

  8. Ithychanda, S. S., Das, M., Ma, Y., Ding, K., Wang, X., Gupta, S., Wu, C., Plow, E. F. and Qin, J. Migfilin: a molecular switch in regulation of integrin activation. J. Biol. Chem. (2009) 284(7):4713-22

  9. Akhtar, N., Marlow, R., Lambert, E., Schatzmann, F., Lowe, E., Cheung, J., Katz, E., Li, W., Wu, C., Dedhar, S., Naylor, M.J. and Streuli, C.H. Molecular dissection of integrin signalling proteins in the control of mammary epithelial development and differentiation. Development (2009) 136(6):1019-27

  10. Yang, Y., Wang, X., Hawkins, C. A., Chen, K., Vaynberg, J., Mao, X., Tu, Y., Zuo, X., Wang, J., Wang, Y. X., Wu, C., Tjandra, N. and Qin, J. Structural basis of focal adhesion localization of LIM-only adaptor PINCH by integrin-linked kinase. J. Biol. Chem. (2009) 284(9):5836-5844

  11. Zhang, Y., Tu, Y., Zhao, J., Chen, K. and Wu, C. Reversion-Induced LIM (RIL) interaction with Src reveals a novel Src inactivation cycle. J. Cell Biol. (2009) 184(6):785-792. PMCID: 2699145.

  12. Petricca, G., Leppilampi, M., Jiang, G., Owen, G. R., Wiebe, C., Koivisto, L., Hakkinen, L., Wu, C. and Larjava, H. Localization and potential function of kindlin-1 in periodontal tissues. Eur. J. Oral. Sci. (2009) 117(5):518-27

  13. Yue, W., Sun, Q., Landreneau, R., Wu, C., Yu, J. and Zhang, L. Fibulin-5 suppresses lung cancer invasion by inhibiting matrix metalloproteinase-7 expression. Cancer Research (2009) 69(15):6339-6346

  14. Apte, U., Gkretsi, V., Bowen, W. C., Mars, W. M., Luo, J. H., Donthamsetty, S., Orr, A., Monga, S. P., Wu, C. and Michalopoulos, G. K. Enhanced liver regeneration following changes induced by hepatocyte-specific genetic ablation of integrin-linked kinase. Hepatology (2009) 50(3):844-851

  15. Liang, X. Sun, Y.F., Yi, M. Q., Powell, H., Rearden, A., Wu, C., Evans, S. E. and Chen, J. Targeted ablation of PINCH1 and PINCH2 from murine myocardium results in dilated cardiomyopathy and early postnatal lethality. Circulation (2009) 120(7):568-576

  16. Yuan, Y., Nymoen, D. A., Dong, H. P., Stavnes, H. T., Rossnes, A. K., Bjørang, O., Wu, C., Nesland, J. M., Davidson, B., Tenascin-X is a novel diagnostic marker of malignant mesothelioma. Am. J. Surg. Pathol. (2009) 33(11):1673-82

  17. Zhao, J., Zhang, Y., Ithychanda, S. S., Tu, Y., Chen, K., Qin, J. and Wu, C. Migfilin interacts with Src and contributes to cell-matrix adhesion- mediated survival signaling. J. Biol. Chem. (2009) 284(49):34308-20. PMCID: PMC2797199.

  18. Shao, H., Wu, C., and Wells, A. Phosphorylation of -actinin-4 upon epidermal growth factor (EGF) exposure regulates its interaction with actin. J. Biol. Chem. (2009) 285(4):2591-600. PMCID: PMC2807316

  19. Fukuda, K., Gupta, S. Chen, K., Wu, C. and Qin, J. The pseudo-active site of ILK is essential for its binding to -parvin and localization to focal adhesions. Mol. Cell (2009) 36(5):819-830. PMCID: PMC2796127.

  20. Donthamsetty, S., Bowen, W., Mars, W., Bhave, B., Luo, J. H., Wu, C., Hurd, J., Orr, A., Bell, A., and Michalopoulos G. M., Liver Specific Ablation of Integrin Linked Kinase (ILK) in Mice Results in Enhanced and Prolonged Cell Proliferation and Hepatomegaly after Phenobarbital Administration. Toxicol. Sci. (2010) 113(2):358-66. PMCID: PMC2807039.

  21. Owen, G. R., Häkkinen, L., Wu, C., and Larjava, H. A reproducible technique for specific labeling of antigens using preformed fluorescent molecular IgG-F(ab')2 complexes from primary antibodies of the same species. Microsc. Res. Tech. (2010) 73(6):623-30

  22. Yuan, Y., Dong, H. P., Nymoen, D. A., Nesland, J. M., Wu, C., and Davidson, B. PINCH-2 expression in cancers involving the serosal cavities. Cytopathology (2010) 22(1):22-9. PMID: 20500520.

  23. Kang, Y. S., Li, Y., Dai, D., Kiss, L.P., Wu, C. and Liu, Y. Inhibition of integrin-linked kinase blocks podocyte epithelial-mesenchymal transition and ameliorates proteinuria. Kidney International (2010) 78(4):363-73. PMCID: PMC3065782

  24. Han, Y.-C., Yu, Y. P., Nelson, J., Wu, C., Michalopoulos, G. K. and Luo, J.-H. Interaction of integrin linked kinase (ILK) and MCM7 mediating integrin 7 induced cell growth suppression. Cancer Research (2010) 70(11):4375-84.

  25. Perera, P. M. , Wypasek, E., Madhavan, S., Rath-Deschner, B., Liu, J., Nam, J., Rath, B., Huang, Y., Deschner, J., Piesco, N., Wu, C., Agarwal, S. Mechanical signals control Sox-9, Vegf and c-Myc expression and cell proliferation during inflammation via Integrin-linked kinase, B-Raf, and ERK 1/2-dependent signaling in articular chondrocytes. Arthritis Research & Therapy (2010) 12(3):R106. PMCID: PMC2911896

  26. Bledzka, K., Bialkowska, K., Nie, H., Qin, J., Byzova, T., Wu, C., Plow, E. F. and Ma, Y.-Q. Tyrosine phosphorylation of 3 integrin regulates kindlin-2 binding and integrin activation. J. Biol. Chem. (2010) 285(40):30370-4. PMCID: PMC2945529

  27. Donthamsetty, S., Bhave, V. S., Kliment, C. S., Bowen, W. C., Mars, W. M., Bell, A. W., Stewart, R. E., Orr, A., Wu, C., and Michalopoulos, G. M. Excessive hepatomegaly of mice with hepatocyte-targeted elimination of integrin linked kinase following treatment with 1,4-bis [2-(3,5-dichaloropyridyloxy)] benzene. Hepatology (2011) 53(2):587-95

  28. Qu, H., Tu, Y., Shi, X., Larjava, H., Saleem, M. A., Shattil, S. J., Fukuda, K., Qin, J., Kretzler, M., and Wu, C. Kindlin-2 regulates podocyte adhesion and fibronectin matrix deposition through interactions with phosphoinositides and integrins. J. Cell Sci. (2011) 124:879-91. PMCID: PMC3048888

  29. Wang, D., Li, Y., Wu, C. and Liu, Y. PINCH1 is transcriptional regulator in podocytes that interacts with WT1 and represses podocalyxin expression. PLoS ONE (2011) 6(2):e17048. PMCID: PMC3044754

  30. Liu, Z., Blattner, S. M., Tu, Y., Tisherman, R., Wang, J. H., Rastaldi, M. P., Kretzler, M., Wu, C. α-actinin-4 and CLP36 deficiencies contribute to podocyte defects in multiple human glomerulopathies. J. Biol. Chem. (2011) 286(35):30795-805. PMCID: PMC3162440

  31. Liu, J., Fukuda, K., Xu, Z., Ma, Y.-Q., Hirbawi, J., Mao, X., Wu, C., Plow, E. F., Qin, J. Structural basis of phosphoinositide binding to Kindlin-2 pleckstrin homology domain in regulating integrin activation. J. Biol. Chem. (2011) First Published on October 26, 2011, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.295352

  32. Bavagnoli, L., Dundon, W.G., Garbelli, A., Zecchin, B., Milanib, A., Parakkal, G., Baldanti, F., Paolucci, S., Volmer, R., Tu, Y., Wu, C., Capua, I., and Maga, G. The PDZ-ligand and SRC-homology type 3 domains of epidemic avian influenza virus NS1 protein modulate human SRC kinase activity during viral infection. PLoS ONE (2011), 6(11):e27789. Epub 2011 Nov 14. PMCID: PMC3215730

  33. Donthamsetty, S., Mars, W. M., Orr, A., Wu, C., and Michalopoulos, G. M. Protection against Fas-induced fulminant hepatic failure in liver specific integrin linked kinase knockout mice. Comparative Hepatology 2011, 10:11 doi: 10.1186/1476-5926-10-11.

  34. He, H., Ding, F., Li, Y,, Chen, H., Luo, A., Wu, C., and Liu, Z. Migfilin regulates esophageal cancer cell motility through promoting GSK-3β mediated degradation of β-catenin. Mol Cancer Res 2012, Published Online First January 13, 2012; doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-11-0419.