Nuclear translocation and functions of growth factor receptors.
Cellular signal transduction in response to environmental signals involves a relay of precisely regulated signal amplifying and damping events. A prototypical signaling relay involves ligands binding to cell surface receptors and triggering the activation of downstream enzymes to ultimately affect the subcellular distribution and activity of DNA-binding proteins that regulate gene expression. These so-called signal transduction cascades have dominated our view of signaling for decades. More recently evidence has accumulated that components of these cascades can be multifunctional, in effect playing a conventional role for example as a cell surface receptor for a ligand whilst also having alternative functions for example as transcriptional regulators in the nucleus. This raises new challenges for researchers. What are the cues/triggers that determine which role such proteins play? What are the trafficking pathways which regulate the spatial distribution of such proteins so that they can perform nuclear functions and under what circumstances are these alternative functions most relevant?