Daniel Webster Ph.D.
I was born and raised a Hoosier (i.e., in Indiana)and attended DePauw University (a
small liberal arts school), where I majored in freshwater ecology/population biology.
Intending to become a marine biologist, I sent applications for graduate school to
places like the University of Miami, where I was eventually accepted, but in the Department
of Cell Biology and Anatomy instead of Marine Biology! To bridge the gap between the
two disciplines, my dissertation project was to determine the role of the cytoskeleton
in the gliding motility of a marine diatom, Amphora coffeaeformis. Eventually, I went
on to do two post-docs, one at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and one at Columbia
University in NYC, where my emphasis was on the regulation of microtubule function
by posttranslational modification. At Texas Tech, I have not only continued long-standing
research pursuits but have also developed a rigorous graduate-level course in Cell
Biology. Other teaching duties have included Cell Biology and Histology for 1st-year
medical students and other “cameo” appearances in other courses. Outside interests
include music (jazz, classical, rock) and sports.
Current work in the lab involves understanding how microtubule (MT) function is regulated
and specified by the posttranslation modification of individual subunits. MTs exist
within all eukaryotic cells and perform many functions vital for cell survival and
differentiation. A long-standing question is how these varied functions are achieved
if every MT is composed of the same tubulin building blocks. In other words, how can
some MTs be specified to perform one function while other MTs are directed to perform
another? One possibility is that the subunits within some MTs are altered biochemically
by different enzyme activities, which then make them recognizable to various binding
proteins. One such activity is that of tubulin carboxypeptidase, which removes the
C-terminal tyrosine from alpha tubulin. Therefore, my lab has two main goals at present.
First, I am continuing an attempt to clone the gene for the MT-modifying enzyme tubulin
carboxypeptidase, in order to prepare specific, antagonistic reagents against it.
Second, I am discerning the role of detyrosinated (Glu) MTs in specific developmental
sequelae, including both skeletal and cardiac muscle development, as well as the role
of MT subsets in cancer cell function, including differential sensitivity to MT-specific
drugs such as paclitaxel and vincristine.
- Webster, D.R. and Bratcher, J.M. (2006): Developmental Regulation of Cardiac MAP4
Protein Expression. Submitted to Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton.
- Webster, D.R. (2004): Tubulinyl-Tyr Carboxypeptidase. In Handbook of Proteolytic Enzymes,
2nd edition. A.J. Barrett, N.D. Rawlings, and J.F. Woessner, Jr., editors. Academic
Press Ltd., London.
- Webster, D.R. (2002): Microtubules in Cardiac Toxicity and Disease. (Review) Cardiovascular
- Dickson C., Webster, D.R., Johnson, H., Millena, A.C., and Khan, S.A. (2002): Transforming
Growth Factor-β effects on morphology of immature rat Leydig cells. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol.
- Chang, W., Webster, D.R., Salam, A.A., Gruber, D., Prasad, A., Eiserich, J.P., and
Bulinski, J.C. (2002): Alteration of the C-terminal amino acid of tubulin specifically
inhibits myogenic differentiation. J. Biol. Chem. 277(34):30690-30698.
- Arutunyan, A., Webster, D.R. Swift, L.M., , and Sarvazyan, N. (2001): Localized injury
in cardiomyocyte network: A new experimental model of ischemia-reperfusion arrhythmias.
Am. J. Physiol. (Ht. Circ. Physiol.) 280:H1905-H1915.
- Webster, D.R. and Patrick, D.L. (2000): Beating rate of isolated neonatal cardiomyocytes
is regulated by the stable microtubule subset. Am. J. of Physiol. (Ht. Circ. Physiol.)
- Webster, D.R. (1997): Neonatal rat cardiomyocytes possess a large population of stable
microtubules that is enriched in posttranslationally modified subunits. J. Mol. Cell.
- Webster, D.R. (1997): Regulation of posttranslationally modified microtubule populations
during neonatal cardiac development. J. Mol. Cell. Cardiol. 29:1747-1761.
- Webster, D.R. and Oxford, M.G. (1996): Regulation of cytoplasmic tubulin carboxypeptidase
activity in vitro by cations and sulfhydryl-modifying compounds.. J. Cell. Biochem.