The research interest of this laboratory is to understand the mechanisms and effects of mRNA localization on directed cell migration. It has been known that directed cell migration plays an important role in many normal and pathological processes such as embryo development, immune defense, wound healing and tumor metastasis. However, the intracellular mechanisms that regulate directed cell migration are poorly understood. Emerging evidence indicates that asymmetric distribution of mRNA in the cells determines local protein synthesis and influences directed cell migration. For example, beta-actin protein and its corresponding mRNA are localized at the leading lamellae of fibroblasts and delocalization of beta-actin mRNA results in loss of local synthesis of actin, impaired cell polarity and migration. We have found for the first time that all the mRNAs for the seven subunits of the Arp2/3 complex, a key factor for actin assembly, are localized at the protrusions of fibroblasts. The finding suggests that mRNA localization, through local protein synthesis and complex assembly, plays an important role in targeting the Arp2/3 protein complex to the leading lamellae for directed cell migration. It is totally unknown as to how the localization of the Arp2/3 complex mRNAs is regulated and what are the consequences in cell migration if the localization of the Arp2/3 complex mRNAs is disrupted. Insights obtained from studying the regulatory mechanisms for Arp2/3 complex mRNA localization and directed cell migration would likely provide useful means in manipulating cell migration for therapeutic benefits. To this end, current projects in the laboratory are trying to address these questions using approaches of molecular genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and microscopic imaging techniques. Ongoing studies include: 1). To study the mechanism of Arp2/3 complex mRNA localization; 2) To disrupt the normal localization of the Arp2/3 complex mRNA; 3) to study the effects of delocalizing Arp2/3 complex mRNA on cell migration in cultured cells and in wound healing animal models.