Partha Roy, PhD

Associate Professor of Bioengineering and Pathology

Office Information:
306 Center for Bioengineering
University of Pittsburgh
300 Technology Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Contact Information:
Office: 412-624-7867
Lab: 412-624-7798/7799
Fax: 412-383-8788

Research Interests

Directed cell migration plays an important role in embryonic development, wound healing, angiogenesis, immune response, cancer invasion and metastasis. Dynamic reorganization of actin cytoskeleton, a key aspect of cell migration, is regulated by the concerted actions of various classes of actin-binding proteins (ABPs). Altered expressions of several ABPs are correlated with aberrant cell motility in pathologic scenarios. One of our main research interests is to study the role of actin-binding proteins in tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Our current effort is focused on profilin-1 (Pfn1), a ubiquitously expressed ABP that is essential for embryonic development and a key molecular regulator for actin dynamics in cells. Interestingly, Pfn1 has also been implicated as a tumor suppressor protein based on its reduced expression in several types of adenocarcinomas (breast, pancreatic, hepatic) and ability to suppress tumorigenicity of breast cancer cells in xenograft models. Utilizing a combination of in vitro (biochemical, cell biology and imaging) and in vivo (mouse models) experimental approaches, we are studying:
  1. Molecular mechanisms underlying the tumor-suppressive action of Pfn1
  2. Molecular mechanisms of how Pfn1 regulates breast cancer invasion and metastasis
  3. How Pfn1 regulates phosphoinositide signaling in cells
  4. Molecular regulation of Pfn1's function in normal vs tumor cells
  5. Protein-protein interactions in migrating cells.

Parallel studies are conducted to elucidate Pfn1's role in physiological processes with current emphasis on vascular endothelial cell morphogenesis/angiogenesis (Funded by National Institute of Health, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, American Heart Association, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program)

Selected Publications

View Dr. Roy's publications on PubMed

  • Gau D., Ding Z., Baty C., Roy P. (2011): Fluorescence resonance energy transfer based interaction between VASP and profilin. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering 4(1):1-8.

  • Bae Y., Ding Z., Das T. Wells A., Gertler F., Roy P. (2010): Profilin1 regulates PI(3,4)P2 and lamellipodin accumulation at the leading edge thus influencing motility of MDA-MB-231 cells PNAS 107(50): 21547-21552 PMID: 21115820.

  • Leloup L., Hanshuang S., Bae Y., Deasy B., Stolz D., Roy P., Wells A (2010) m-Calpain activation is regulated by its membrane localization and by its binding to phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. J.Biol Chem 285(43):33549- 66. PMCID: PMC2963356.

  • Kam L., Roy P. (2010): Cell mechanics and signaling: From micro to nano. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering 3(1):1- 2.

  • Zou L., Ding Z., Roy P. (2010): Profilin-1 overexpression inhibits breast cancer cell proliferation through p27kip1 upregulation J. Cell Physiology 223(3):623-629 PMCID: PMC2872929

  • Ding Z., Gau D., Deasy B, Wells A., Roy P. (2009): Both actin and polyproline interactions of profilin-1 are required for vascular endothelial cell migration, invasion and capillary morphogenesis Exp Cell Res 315 (17): 2963-2973. PMCID: PMC2757537

  • Zou L., Hazan R., Roy P. (2009): Profilin-1 overexpression restores adherence junctions in MDA-MB-231 cells in R- cadherin dependent manner Cell motility and Cytoskeleton 68: 1048-1056. PMCID: PMC2783708

  • Bae Y., Ding Z., Zou L., Wells A., Gertler F., Roy P. (2009): Loss of Profilin-1 expression enhances breast cancer cell motility by Ena/VASP proteins J Cell Physiology 219(2):354-364. PMCID: PMC2990882

  • Das T., Bae Y, Wells A., Roy P. (2009): Profilin-1 overexpression upregulates PTEN and suppresses AKT activation in breast cancer cells. J Cell Physiology 218(2): 436-443. PMCID: PMC2874249

  • Zou L., Jaramillo M., Whaley D., Wells A., Panchapakesa V., Das T., Roy P. (2007): Profilin-1 is a negative regulator of mammary carcinoma aggressiveness. British J Cancer 97: 1361-1371. PMCID: PMC2360229

  • Ding Z., Lambrechts A., Parepally M., Roy P. (2006): Silencing profilin-1 inhibits endothelial cell proliferation, migration and cord morphogenesis. J. Cell Science 119: 4127-4137. PMID: 16968742

  • Boukhelifa M., Moza M., Johansson J., Rachlin A., Parast M., Huttelmaier S., Roy P., Jockusch B. M., Carpen O., Karlsson R., Otey C. A. (2006): The proline-rich protein palladin is a binding partner for profilin. FEBS J. 273(1) 26-33. PMID: 16367745

  • Roy P., Jacobson K. (2004): Overexpression of profilin reduces the migration of invasive breast cancer cells. Cell Motility and Cytoskeleton 57(2): 84-95. PMID: 14691948

  • Rajfur Z., Roy P., Otey C., Romer L., Jacobson K. (2002): Dissecting the link between stress fibers and focal adhesions by CALI of EGFP-fusion proteins. Nature Cell Biol. 4(4):286-293. PMID: 11912490

  • Roy P., Rajfur Z., Pomorski P., Jacobson K. (2002): Microscope-based techniques for studying cell adhesion and migration. Nature Cell Biol. 4(4):E91-96.

  • Roy P., Rajfur Z., Jones D., Marriott G., Loew L., Jacobson K. (2001): Local photorelease of caged-T 4 in locomoting keratocytes causes cell turning. J. Cell Biol. 153 (5): 1035-1048. PMCID: PMC2174335.