Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling controls blood vessel development and plays a central role in the vascularization of malignant tumors. The most important receptors for VEGF are part of the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) family. Receptor dimerization is an important step in the activation of RTK receptors. Concentration or clustering of receptors in islands representing a small fraction of the total membrane surface is another feature of RTK signaling, believed to increase its efficiency. The role of these phenomena in signaling and the origin and mechanism of receptor clustering are not well understood and are subject to intense experimental and theoretical efforts. This project on VEGF complements ongoing work focused on other RTK receptor families such as EGF. We propose to investigate the role of spatial structure in the kinetics of VEGF signaling and infer the spatial distribution of VEGF receptors in the cell membrane and its dependence on the presence of ligand, in a specific cell system. Experimentally we plan to use advanced imaging methods which allow the visualization of individual receptors and infer their spatial distribution and mobility, as well as flow cytometry to investigate signaling in individual cells. Based on data collected on the same cellular system, we will build a spatial Monte-Carlo model of the molecular processes involved in signaling, including two-dimensional movement in the cell membrane. We will use this model to investigate the interplay between spatial features of the cell membrane, receptor clustering, and signal transduction. Finally, we seek to encapsulate the emerging understanding of spatial aspects of VEGF binding in lower dimensional representations, with the goal of defining a realistic, whole-cell model of the first step in VEGF signaling, which can be incorporated in models on the scale of tissues.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award (K25)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
Program Officer
Jakowlew, Sonia B
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
West Virginia University
Biostatistics & Other Math Sci
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
McCabe Pryor, Meghan; Steinkamp, Mara P; Halasz, Adam M et al. (2015) Orchestration of ErbB3 signaling through heterointeractions and homointeractions. Mol Biol Cell 26:4109-23
Halász, Adám M; Lai, Hong-Jian; McCabe Pryor, Meghan et al. (2013) Analytical solution of steady-state equations for chemical reaction networks with bilinear rate laws. IEEE/ACM Trans Comput Biol Bioinform 10:957-69
Pryor, Meghan McCabe; Low-Nam, Shalini T; Halász, Adám M et al. (2013) Dynamic transition states of ErbB1 phosphorylation predicted by spatial stochastic modeling. Biophys J 105:1533-43
Radhakrishnan, Krishnan; Halász, Ádám; McCabe, Meghan M et al. (2012) Mathematical simulation of membrane protein clustering for efficient signal transduction. Ann Biomed Eng 40:2307-18
Radhakrishnan, Krishnan; Halász, Adám; Vlachos, Dion et al. (2010) Quantitative understanding of cell signaling: the importance of membrane organization. Curr Opin Biotechnol 21:677-82