Research in the Carpenter laboratory addresses the role of reelin signaling in regulating cell migration in the brain and mammary gland. Reelin signaling has been widely recognized as an essential factor in determining cell position during brain development. The Carpenter laboratory has developed a mouse model that explores interactions between reelin signaling and embryonic exposure to organophosphate pesticides, both of which are implicated as contributing factors to autism. These studies have shown that decreased reelin signaling can cause identifiable changes in cell position and morphology, and that the addition of pesticide exposure can affect both of these things. The Carpenter laboratory has also demonstrated a unique role for reelin signaling in regulating the development of the mouse mammary gland. Loss of reelin signaling impacts mammary ductal development, and direct exposure to reelin affects the migratory ability of mammary epithelial cells. Recent findings have also demonstrated a role for reelin signaling in regulating the metastatic migration of breast cancer cells.
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