Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Janetopoulos, Chris , Ph.D.

Lab Url:

Phone Number: 936-8907

Email Address:chrisjano15 at

Janetopoulos, Chris's picture

Office Address   Mailing Address

MRB III, Room U5211, 465 21st Ave S, Nashville TN 37232

VU Station B, Box 35-1634, Nashville, TN 37235

Research Keywords
Chemotaxis, Cytokinesis, G-protein signaling, Polarity, Phosphoinositides, cAMP, Signal Transduction, Migration, Cancer, Dictyostelium, microfluidics, PDMS, FRET, Mass Spectroscopy, Intravital imaging

Research Specialty
Signaling mechanisms regulating cell migration and division and their relationship to cancer. Developing novel fluorescent techniques and microfluidic devices for live cell and animal imaging.

Research Description
Cytokinesis and cell migration are two processes that have been implicated in many disease states, including many forms of cancer. Research in my lab is focused on understanding how cells establish and maintain polarity during directed cell migration (chemotaxis) and also during cytokinesis (cell division). We have discovered that the underlying mechanisms regulating both processes are remarkably similar. In fact, the migration process likely biases the the same machinery regulating morphological changes which take place during cell division. Advanced techniques in fluorescence microscopy are being used to visualize these proteins and their localization under various conditions in the living cell and in living animals.

We use human cancer cell lines, neutrophils, mice and the social amoeba D. discoideum, an established model organism for these studies. Current projects include: 1) Exploiting the molecular and genetic advantages of D. discoideum by employing genetic screens and using proteomics techniques to identify proteins regulating polarity and motility. Once identified, we are pursuing the functions of these proteins in a number of wild-type and human cancer cell lines; 2) Investigate, using several sophisticated microscopy techniques, the signaling and cytoskeletal events that regulate motility and cell polarity. We are particularly interested in the influence of the plasma membrane phosphoinositides on the cytoskeleton; 3) Study the regulation of the heterotrimeric G protein cycle, utilizing a novel in vivo FRET-based assay; 4) Develop new techniques for imaging cells in vitro and in living animals (intravital imaging). We are taking advantage of our ongoing collaborations in the department of Physics, Cancer Biology and at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

Wright, G., Srinivasan, K. and Janetopoulos, C. Phagocytosis. In: Lennarz, W.J. and Lane, M.D. (eds.) The Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 3, pp. 437-440. Waltham, MA: Academic Press, 2013

K. Hockemeyer,C. Janetopoulos,A. Terekhov,W. Hofmeister, A. Vilgelm,Wikswo, and A. Richmond. Engineered 3D Microfluidic Device for Interrogating Cell-Cell Interactions in a Tumor Microenvironment. Biomicrofluidics, , , 2014, in press.

Chen, B.C., et al.. Lattice Light Sheet Microscopy: Imaging Molecules to Embryos at High Spatiotemporal Resolution.. Science, , , 2014 (In Press).

Srinivasan, K, Subramanian, T, Spielmann, HP, Janetopoulos, C. Identification of a farnesol analog as a Ras function inhibitor using both an in vivo Ras activation sensor and a phenotypic screening approach. Mol Cell Biochem, 387(1-2), 177-86, 2014.

Yan, Y, Jiang, L, Aufderheide, KJ, Wright, GA, Terekhov, A, Costa, L, Qin, K, McCleery, WT, Fellenstein, JJ, Ustione, A, Robertson, JB, Johnson, CH, Piston, DW, Hutson, MS, Wikswo, JP, Hofmeister, W, Janetopoulos, C. A microfluidic-enabled mechanical microcompressor for the immobilization of live single- and multi-cellular specimens. Microsc Microanal, 20(1), 141-51, 2014.

Jowhar, D & Janetopoulos, C.. The Chemotactic Compass, In: Evolution, Genomics and Cell Biology of the Dictyostelids. Ricardo Escalate, ed., Springer Publishing, 2013

Srinivasan, K, Wright, GA, Hames, N, Housman, M, Roberts, A, Aufderheide, KJ, Janetopoulos, C. Delineating the core regulatory elements crucial for directed cell migration by examining folic-acid-mediated responses. J Cell Sci, 126(Pt 1), 221-33, 2013.

Wu, Y, Janetopoulos, C. The G alpha subunit G??8 inhibits proliferation, promotes adhesion and regulates cell differentiation. Dev Biol, 380(1), 58-72, 2013.

Wu, Y, Janetopoulos, C. Systematic analysis of g-aminobutyric acid (GABA) metabolism and function in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. J Biol Chem, , , 2013.

Aufderheide, K.J. and Janetopoulos, C. Immobilization of Living Specimens for Microscopic Observation. In Current microscopy contributions to advances in science and technology, 2, , 2012.

Wright, GA, Costa, L, Terekhov, A, Jowhar, D, Hofmeister, W, Janetopoulos, C. On-chip open microfluidic devices for chemotaxis studies. Microsc Microanal, 18(4), 816-28, 2012.

Costa, L, Terekhov, A, Rajput, D, Hofmeister, W, Jowhar, D, Wright, G, Janetopoulos, C. Femtosecond laser machined microfluidic devices for imaging of cells during chemotaxis. J Laser Appl, 23(4), 1.3614405, 2011.

Costa, L., Terekhov, A., Rajput, D., Hofmeister, W., Jowhar, D., Wright, G., Janetopoulos, C.. Femtosecond laser micromachining of microfluidic devices for imaging of cells during chemotaxis. J. of Laser Apps, 4(23), , 2011.

Jowhar, D, Wright, G, Samson, PC, Wikswo, JP, Janetopoulos, C. Open access microfluidic device for the study of cell migration during chemotaxis. Integr Biol (Camb), 2(11-12), 648-58, 2010.

Elzie, CA, Colby, J, Sammons, MA, Janetopoulos, C. Dynamic localization of G proteins in Dictyostelium discoideum. J Cell Sci, 122(Pt 15), 2597-603, 2009.

Elzie, CA, Janetopoulos, C. FRAP analysis of chemosensory components of Dictyostelium. Methods Mol Biol, 571, 349-69, 2009.

Seale, K, Janetopoulos, C, Wikswo, J. Micro-mirrors for nanoscale three-dimensional microscopy. ACS Nano, 3(3), 493-7, 2009.

Janetopoulos, C, Firtel, RA. Directional sensing during chemotaxis. FEBS Lett, 582(14), 2075-85, 2008. PMCID:2519798

Seale, KT, Reiserer, RS, Markov, DA, Ges, IA, Wright, C, Janetopoulos, C, Wikswo, JP. Mirrored pyramidal wells for simultaneous multiple vantage point microscopy. J Microsc, 232(1), 1-6, 2008.

Sasaki, AT, Janetopoulos, C, Lee, S, Charest, PG, Takeda, K, Sundheimer, LW, Meili, R, Devreotes, PN, Firtel, RA. G protein-independent Ras/PI3K/F-actin circuit regulates basic cell motility. J Cell Biol, 178(2), 185-91, 2007. PMCID:2064438

Janetopoulos, C, Devreotes, P. Phosphoinositide signaling plays a key role in cytokinesis. J Cell Biol, 174(4), 485-90, 2006. PMCID:2064254

Janetopoulos, C, Borleis, J, Vazquez, F, Iijima, M, Devreotes, P. Temporal and spatial regulation of phosphoinositide signaling mediates cytokinesis. Dev Cell, 8(4), 467-77, 2005.

Janetopoulos, C, Ma, L, Devreotes, PN, Iglesias, PA. Chemoattractant-induced phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate accumulation is spatially amplified and adapts, independent of the actin cytoskeleton. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 101(24), 8951-6, 2004. PMCID:428453

Ma, L, Janetopoulos, C, Yang, L, Devreotes, PN, Iglesias, PA. Two complementary, local excitation, global inhibition mechanisms acting in parallel can explain the chemoattractant-induced regulation of PI(3,4,5)P3 response in dictyostelium cells. Biophys J, 87(6), 3764-74, 2004. PMCID:1304889

Chen, L, Janetopoulos, C, Huang, YE, Iijima, M, Borleis, J, Devreotes, PN. Two phases of actin polymerization display different dependencies on PI(3,4,5)P3 accumulation and have unique roles during chemotaxis. Mol Biol Cell, 14(12), 5028-37, 2003. PMCID:284804

Devreotes, P, Janetopoulos, C. Eukaryotic chemotaxis: distinctions between directional sensing and polarization. J Biol Chem, 278(23), 20445-8, 2003.

Janetopoulos, C, Devreotes, P. Monitoring receptor-mediated activation of heterotrimeric G-proteins by fluorescence resonance energy transfer. Methods, 27(4), 366-73, 2002.

Janetopoulos, C, Jin, T, Devreotes, P. Receptor-mediated activation of heterotrimeric G-proteins in living cells. Science, 291(5512), 2408-11, 2001.

Janetopoulos, C, Cole, E, Smothers, JF, Allis, CD, Aufderheide, KJ. The conjusome: a novel structure in Tetrahymena found only during sexual reorganization. J Cell Sci, 112 ( Pt 7), 1003-11, 1999.

Riley, BB, Zhu, C, Janetopoulos, C, Aufderheide, KJ. A critical period of ear development controlled by distinct populations of ciliated cells in the zebrafish. Dev Biol, 191(2), 191-201, 1997.

Postdoctoral Position Available

Postdoctoral Position Details
I am currently accepting applications for postdocs. Postdocs interested in phosphoinositide signaling (in relation to cell polarity) or intravital imaging should apply. Send applications to chrisjano15 at

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