Biomedical Research Education & Training
Faculty Member

Webb, Donna J, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Associate Professor of Cancer Biology

Lab Url: N/A

Phone Number: (615) 936-8274

Email Address:

Webb, Donna's picture
Academic history
B.S., James Madison University
Ph.D., University of Virginia

Office Address   Mailing Address

U6211 MRBIII, 465 21st Avenue South

VU Station B, Box 35-1634 37235

Research Keywords
Cell migration, cancer, cytoskeleton, neurobiology, learning and memory, synapse formation, signal transduction, synaptic plasticity, mental retardation, Alzheimers disease, hippocampus

Research Specialty
Signal Transduction Pathways that Regulate Adhesion and Cytoskeletal Dynamics in Migration and Synapse Formation, Cell biology, Neurobiology

Research Description
My laboratory is interested in cell migration, which plays a pivotal role in many important phenomena including cancer, mental retardation and embryonic development. We are studying the signaling pathways that regulate adhesion and cytoskeletal dynamics in a variety of normal and cancer cells since this could lead to new targets for the development of anti-cancer therapeutics. A special focus in my lab is understanding the signaling pathways that regulate the formation of dendritic spines and synapses in the central nervous system. The dynamics of these spines is an exciting frontier in neuroscience because it contributes to synaptic plasticity, which underlies cognitive functions, such as learning and memory.

Gao, Y, Majumdar, D, Jovanovic, B, Shaifer, C, Lin, PC, Zijlstra, A, Webb, DJ, Li, D. A versatile valve-enabled microfluidic cell co-culture platform and demonstration of its applications to neurobiology and cancer biology. Biomed Microdevices, 13(3), 539-48, 2011

Majumdar, D, Gao, Y, Li, D, Webb, DJ. Co-culture of neurons and glia in a novel microfluidic platform. J Neurosci Methods, 196(1), 38-44, 2011

Majumdar, D, Nebhan, CA, Hu, L, Anderson, B, Webb, DJ. An APPL1/Akt signaling complex regulates dendritic spine and synapse formation in hippocampal neurons. Mol Cell Neurosci, 46(3), 633-44, 2011

Gant-Branum, RL, Broussard, JA, Mahsut, A, Webb, DJ, McLean, JA. Identification of phosphorylation sites within the signaling adaptor APPL1 by mass spectrometry. J Proteome Res, 9(3), 1541-8, 2010 PMCID:2845304

Lin, WH, Nebhan, CA, Anderson, BR, Webb, DJ. Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) induces actin assembly in dendritic spines to promote their development and potentiate synaptic strength. J Biol Chem, 285(46), 36010-20, 2010

Svitkina, T, Lin, WH, Webb, DJ, Yasuda, R, Wayman, GA, Van Aelst, L, Soderling, SH. Regulation of the postsynaptic cytoskeleton: roles in development, plasticity, and disorders. J Neurosci, 30(45), 14937-42, 2010 PMCID:3074493

Bristow, JM, Sellers, MH, Majumdar, D, Anderson, B, Hu, L, Webb, DJ. The Rho-family GEF Asef2 activates Rac to modulate adhesion and actin dynamics and thereby regulate cell migration. J Cell Sci, 122(Pt 24), 4535-46, 2009 PMCID:2787464

Lin, WH, Webb, DJ. Actin and Actin-Binding Proteins: Masters of Dendritic Spine Formation, Morphology, and Function. Open Neurosci J, 3, 54-66, 2009 PMCID:2921857

Broussard, JA, Webb, DJ, Kaverina, I. Asymmetric focal adhesion disassembly in motile cells. Curr Opin Cell Biol, 20(1), 85-90, 2008

Wegner, AM, Nebhan, CA, Hu, L, Majumdar, D, Meier, KM, Weaver, AM, Webb, DJ. N-WASP and the Arp2/3 complex are critical regulators of actin in the development of dendritic spines and synapses. J Biol Chem, 2008 PMCID:2414292

Peacock JG, Miller A.L., Bradley W.D., Rodriguez O.C., Webb D.J., and Koleske A.J.. The Abl-Related Gene Tyrosine Kinase Acts through p190RhoGAP to Inhibit Actomyosin Contractility and Regulate Focal Adhesion Dynamics upon Adhesion to Fibronectin. Mol. Biol. Cell. , 18, 3860-3872, 2007

Webb, DJ, Zhang, H, Majumdar, D, Horwitz, AF. alpha 5 integrin signaling regulates the formation of spines and synapses in hippocampal neurons. J Biol Chem, 282, 6929-6935, 2007 PMCID:2750863

Lieu, AS, Li, JZ, Webb, DJ, Hankins, GR, Howng, SL, Helm, GA. Functions of G protein-coupled receptor kinase interacting protein 1 in human neuronal (NT2N) cells. J Neurosurg, 105(1), 103-10, 2006

Mayhew, MW, Webb, DJ, Kovalenko, M, Whitmore, L, Fox, JW, Horwitz, AF. Identification of protein networks associated with the PAK1-betaPIX-GIT1-paxillin signaling complex by mass spectrometry. J Proteome Res, 5(9), 2417-23, 2006

Nayal, A, Webb, DJ, Brown, CM, Schaefer, EM, Vicente-Manzanares, M, Horwitz, AR. Paxillin phosphorylation at Ser273 localizes a GIT1-PIX-PAK complex and regulates adhesion and protrusion dynamics. J Cell Biol, 173(4), 587-9, 2006 PMCID:2063867

Webb, DJ, Kovalenko, M, Whitmore, L, Horwitz, AF. Phosphorylation of serine 709 in GIT1 regulates protrusive activity in cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 346(4), 1284-8, 2006

Webb, DJ, Mayhew, MW, Kovalenko, M, Schroeder, MJ, Jeffery, ED, Whitmore, L, Shabanowitz, J, Hunt, DF, Horwitz, AF. Identification of phosphorylation sites in GIT1. J Cell Sci, 119(Pt 14), 2847-50, 2006

Bryce, NS, Clark, ES, Leysath, JL, Currie, JD, Webb, DJ, Weaver, AM. Cortactin promotes cell motility by enhancing lamellipodial persistence. Curr Biol, 15(14), 1276-85, 2005

Schroeder, MJ, Webb, DJ, Shabanowitz, J, Horwitz, AF, Hunt, DF. Methods for the detection of paxillin post-translational modifications and interacting proteins by mass spectrometry. J Proteome Res, 4(5), 1832-41, 2005

Vicente-Manzanares, M, Webb, DJ, Horwitz, AR. Cell migration at a glance. J Cell Sci, 118(Pt 21), 4917-9, 2005

Webb, DJ, Schroeder, MJ, Brame, CJ, Whitmore, L, Shabanowitz, J, Hunt, DF, Horwitz, AR. Paxillin phosphorylation sites mapped by mass spectrometry. J Cell Sci, 118(Pt 21), 4925-9, 2005

Webb, DJ, Zhang, H, Horwitz, AF. Cell migration: an overview. Methods Mol Biol, 294, 3-11, 2005

Zhang, H, Webb, DJ, Asmussen, H, Niu, S, Horwitz, AF. A GIT1/PIX/Rac/PAK signaling module regulates spine morphogenesis and synapse formation through MLC. J Neurosci, 25(13), 3379-88, 2005

Nayal, A, Webb, DJ, Horwitz, AF. Talin: an emerging focal point of adhesion dynamics. Curr Opin Cell Biol, 16(1), 94-8, 2004

Webb, DJ, Donais, K, Whitmore, LA, Thomas, SM, Turner, CE, Parsons, JT, Horwitz, AF. FAK-Src signalling through paxillin, ERK and MLCK regulates adhesion disassembly. Nat Cell Biol, 6(2), 154-61, 2004

Wiseman, PW, Brown, CM, Webb, DJ, Hebert, B, Johnson, NL, Squier, JA, Ellisman, MH, Horwitz, AF. Spatial mapping of integrin interactions and dynamics during cell migration by image correlation microscopy. J Cell Sci, 117(Pt 23), 5521-34, 2004

Webb, D.J., Donais, K., Murase, S., Asmussen, H., and Horwitz, A.F. Regulation of Cell Migration in Vitro and in Vivo. Cell Behaviour: Control and Mechanism of Motility, 2003.

Webb, DJ, Brown, CM, Horwitz, AF. Illuminating adhesion complexes in migrating cells: moving toward a bright future. Curr Opin Cell Biol, 15(5), 614-20, 2003

Webb, DJ, Horwitz, AF. New dimensions in cell migration. Nat Cell Biol, 5(8), 690-2, 2003

Zhang, H, Webb, DJ, Asmussen, H, Horwitz, AF. Synapse formation is regulated by the signaling adaptor GIT1. J Cell Biol, 161(1), 131-42, 2003 PMCID:2172873

Ma, Z, Thomas, KS, Webb, DJ, Moravec, R, Salicioni, AM, Mars, WM, Gonias, SL. Regulation of Rac1 activation by the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein. J Cell Biol, 159(6), 1061-70, 2002 PMCID:2173989

Manabe, R, Kovalenko, M, Webb, DJ, Horwitz, AR. GIT1 functions in a motile, multi-molecular signaling complex that regulates protrusive activity and cell migration. J Cell Sci, 115(Pt 7), 1497-510, 2002

Mettenburg, JM, Webb, DJ, Gonias, SL. Distinct binding sites in the structure of alpha 2-macroglobulin mediate the interaction with beta-amyloid peptide and growth factors. J Biol Chem, 277(15), 13338-45, 2002

Webb, DJ, Asmussen, H, Murase, S, Horwitz, AF. Cell migration in slice cultures. Methods Cell Biol, 69, 341-58, 2002

Webb, DJ, Parsons, JT, Horwitz, AF. Adhesion assembly, disassembly and turnover in migrating cells -- over and over and over again. Nat Cell Biol, 4(4), E97-100, 2002

Laukaitis, CM, Webb, DJ, Donais, K, Horwitz, AF. Differential dynamics of alpha 5 integrin, paxillin, and alpha-actinin during formation and disassembly of adhesions in migrating cells. J Cell Biol, 153(7), 1427-40, 2001 PMCID:2150721

Ma, Z, Webb, DJ, Jo, M, Gonias, SL. Endogenously produced urokinase-type plasminogen activator is a major determinant of the basal level of activated ERK/MAP kinase and prevents apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. J Cell Sci, 114(Pt 18), 3387-96, 2001

Webb, DJ, Thomas, KS, Gonias, SL. Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 functions as a urokinase response modifier at the level of cell signaling and thereby promotes MCF-7 cell growth. J Cell Biol, 152(4), 741-52, 2001 PMCID:2195772

Garber, TR, Gonias, SL, Webb, DJ. Interleukin-4 and IL-10 bind covalently to activated human alpha2-macroglobulin by a mechanism that requires Cys949. J Interferon Cytokine Res, 20(2), 125-31, 2000

Gonias, SL, Carmichael, A, Mettenburg, JM, Roadcap, DW, Irvin, WP, Webb, DJ. Identical or overlapping sequences in the primary structure of human alpha(2)-macroglobulin are responsible for the binding of nerve growth factor-beta, platelet-derived growth factor-BB, and transforming growth factor-beta. J Biol Chem, 275(8), 5826-31, 2000

Nguyen, DH, Webb, DJ, Catling, AD, Song, Q, Dhakephalkar, A, Weber, MJ, Ravichandran, KS, Gonias, SL. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator stimulates the Ras/Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway and MCF-7 cell migration by a mechanism that requires focal adhesion kinase, Src, and Shc. Rapid dissociation of GRB2/Sps-Shc complex is associated with the transient phosphorylation of ERK in urokinase-treated cells. J Biol Chem, 275(25), 19382-8, 2000

Webb, DJ, Nguyen, DH, Gonias, SL. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase functions in the urokinase receptor-dependent pathway by which neutralization of low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein promotes fibrosarcoma cell migration and matrigel invasion. J Cell Sci, 113 ( Pt 1), 123-34, 2000

Webb, DJ, Roadcap, DW, Dhakephalkar, A, Gonias, SL. A 16-amino acid peptide from human alpha2-macroglobulin binds transforming growth factor-beta and platelet-derived growth factor-BB. Protein Sci, 9(10), 1986-92, 2000 PMCID:2144455

Nguyen, DH, Catling, AD, Webb, DJ, Sankovic, M, Walker, LA, Somlyo, AV, Weber, MJ, Gonias, SL. Myosin light chain kinase functions downstream of Ras/ERK to promote migration of urokinase-type plasminogen activator-stimulated cells in an integrin-selective manner. J Cell Biol, 146(1), 149-64, 1999 PMCID:2199739

Webb, DJ, Nguyen, DH, Sankovic, M, Gonias, SL. The very low density lipoprotein receptor regulates urokinase receptor catabolism and breast cancer cell motility in vitro. J Biol Chem, 274(11), 7412-20, 1999

Kralovich, KR, Li, L, Hembrough, TA, Webb, DJ, Karns, LR, Gonias, SL. Characterization of the binding sites for plasminogen and tissue-type plasminogen activator in cytokeratin 8 and cytokeratin 18. J Protein Chem, 17(8), 845-54, 1998

Webb, DJ, Gonias, SL. A modified human alpha 2-macroglobulin derivative that binds tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1 beta with high affinity in vitro and reverses lipopolysaccharide toxicity in vivo in mice. Lab Invest, 78(8), 939-48, 1998

Webb, DJ, Wen, J, Karns, LR, Kurilla, MG, Gonias, SL. Localization of the binding site for transforming growth factor-beta in human alpha2-macroglobulin to a 20-kDa peptide that also contains the bait region. J Biol Chem, 273(21), 13339-46, 1998

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