Public Defence: Marte Sneeggen

MSc Marte Sneeggen at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis "Regulation of Epithelial Organization and Cell Invasion by the Endosomal Protein WDFY2" for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor)

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Foto: Chema Bassols

Trial lecture - time and place

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor James Norman, Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Second opponent: Assistant Professor Olof Idevall-Hagren, Department of Medical Cell Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor II Therese Sørlie, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor II William Louch, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor Harald Stenmark, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo


Cancer starts with uncontrolled cell proliferation leading to primary tumors. Cancer cells can then gain the ability to migrate away from the primary tumor to distant organs forming secondary tumors known as metastases. Metastasis is the most life-threatening aspect of cancer, and we need to learn more about the metastatic process in order to cure metastatic cancers. For cancer cells to be able to metastasize, they need to lose polarity and disconnect from their neighboring cells. Then the cancer cells need to gain properties to invade through the basement membrane and through the stroma before entering blood vessels to spread to distant organs.

In this work we studied the endocytic pathway and how this pathway is involved in regulation of cell polarization and invasion. We focused on the early-endosomal protein WDFY2, which we found to regulate localization to early endosomes of proteins relevant to cancer development. Specifically, we found WDFY2 to control cell polarity and cell invasion through endosomal localization of LKB1, a regulator of cell polarity, and MT1-MMP, a protease that mediates extracellular matrix degradation. Loss of WDFY2 lead to cells losing polarity, and in addition increased recycling of MT1-MMP which made cells able to degrade and invade into 3D matrices

Additional information

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Published Oct. 25, 2019 3:20 PM - Last modified Nov. 7, 2019 2:02 PM