The objective of our research is to investigate the mechanisms by which receptor tyrosine kinases produce cellular responses in vitro in cell systems and in vivo in mice. As a model, the Kit receptor tyrosine kinase and its agonist, the membrane growth factor Kit-ligand (KL), are being studied. Phenotypes of mice with mutations in the genes for the Kit receptor tyrosine kinase and its ligand KL imply roles in gametogenesis, hematopoiesis, and melanogenesis. Based on mutant phenotypes in distinctive cell compartments during embryogenesis and in the postnatal animal, the cellular responses mediated by the Kit receptor are quite diverse and include cell proliferation, cell survival, cell adhesion, cell migration, secretion of mediators, cell differentiation, and other postmitotic functions.
Peter Besmer, PhD