Crislyn D'Souza-Schorey Morris Pollard Professor; Department Chair

Cell Signaling and Cancer Progression
Crislyn D'Souza-Schorey

Research Interests:

The most unfavorable events during the early stages of cancer progression are tightly linked to alterations in signaling cascades that control cell adhesion and invasion. Research in our laboratory focuses on a signaling axis that facilitates these changes and appears to be deregulated in several human cancers. The acquisition of the invasive phenotype—when cells disrupt normal cell-cell contacts and acquire phenotypic alterations that permit invasion through the surrounding tissue—is the focus of the laboratory’s research. In this context, we seek to determine the impact of specific molecular alterations in cancer initiation and progression, with the ultimate goal of extending these findings to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic platforms.

Current efforts are targeted at understanding the cellular basis of epithelial glandular disruption and tumor cell invasion. We employ cellular, organotypic and animal model systems, coupled with the interrogation of clinical samples. Ongoing projects investigate how extracellular signals such as Wnts and receptor tyrosine kinase activation, through coordinated changes in membrane traffic and the actin cytoskeleton regulate epithelial glandular architectures. From these analyses, we seek to uncover the molecular basis of pathological phenotypes observed in biopsies of patients with localized and invasive ductal carcinomas. We are also studying the mechanisms that govern the formation of microvesicles and invadopodia, two non-overlapping conduits of tumor cell invasion. We continue to characterize these invasive structures and investigate the mechanisms by which they promote tumor cell migration and dissemination across diverse microenvironments.



  • Department Chair, Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2014-Present
  • Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2011-Present
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2004-2011
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 1998-2004
  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis 1997-1998
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Cell Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis 1993-1996
  • Ph.D. University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX 1992


Selected Papers:

  • Clancy JW, Sedgwick A, Rosse C, Muralidharan-Chari V, Raposo G, Method M, Chavrier P, D'Souza-Schorey C. (2015) Regulated delivery of molecular cargo to invasive tumour-derived microvesicles. Nature Commun. 6: 6919-6930.
  • Sedgwick AE, Clancy JW, Olivia Balmert M, D'Souza-Schorey C. (2015) Extracellular microvesicles and invadopodia mediate non-overlapping modes of tumor cell invasion. Scientific Reports. 5:14748. doi: 10.1038/srep14748.
  • Pellon-Cardenas O, Clancy J, Uwimpuhwe H, D'Souza-Schorey C. (2013) ARF6-Regulated Endocytosis of Growth Factor Receptors Links Cadherin-Based Adhesion to Canonical Wnt Signaling in Epithelia. Mol. Cell. Biol. 33:2963-2975.
  • Grossmann AH, Yoo JH, Clancy J, Sorensen LK, Sedgwick A, Tong Z, Ostanin K, Rogers A, Grossmann KF, Tripp SR, Thomas KR, D'Souza-Schorey C, Odelberg SJ, Li DY. (2013) The small GTPase ARF6 stimulates β-catenin transcriptional activity during WNT5A-mediated melanoma invasion and metastasis. Science Signaling. 6(265):ra14. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.2003398.
  • D'Souza-Schorey C, Clancy JW. (2012) Tumor-derived microvesicles: shedding light on novel microenvironment modulators and prospective cancer biomarkers. Genes and Development. 26: 1287-99.
  • Tushir J.S., Clancy J., Warren A., Wrobel C., Brugge J.S., D'Souza-Schorey C. (2010) Unregulated ARF6 activation in epithelial cysts generates hyperactive signaling endosomes and disrupts morphogenesis. Mol. Biol. Cell. 21: 2355-2366.
  • Muralidharan-Chari, V., Clancy J.W., Plou C., Romao M., Chavrier P, Raposo G., and D'Souza-Schorey C. (2009) “ARF6 regulated shedding of tumor-derived plasma membrane microvesicles.” Current Biology 19(22):1875-85.
  • Muralidharan-Chari V., Hoover H., Clancy J., Schweitzer J., Suckow M., Schroeder V., Castellino F., Schorey J., D’Souza-Schorey C. (2009) ADP-ribosylation factor 6 regulates tumorigenic and invasive properties in vivo. Cancer Research 69: 2201-2209.
  • Tushir, J.S. and D’Souza-Schorey C. (2007) ARF6-dependent activation of ERK and Rac1 modulates epithelial tubule development. EMBO J. 26: 1806-1819.
  • D’Souza-Schorey C and Chavrier P. (2006) ARF proteins: roles in membrane traffic and beyond. Nature Reviews Mol. Cell. Biol. 7: 347-358.
  • Palacios F., Schweitzer J., Boshans R.L. and D’Souza-Schorey, C. (2002) ARF6-GTP recruits nm23-H1 to facilitate dynamin-dependent endocytosis during adherens junction disassembly. Nature Cell Biology 4: 929-936.
  • Van Aelst L. and D’Souza-Schorey C. (1997) Rho GTPases and signaling networks. Genes and Development 11: 2295-2322.
  • D’Souza-Schorey C., Li G., Colombo M.I., and Stahl P.D. (1995) A regulatory role for ARF6 in receptor-mediated endocytosis. Science 267: 1175-1178.