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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address THT 944 Zip 0006
Phone  (205) 934-1548
Other websites

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology Professor Emeritus

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Cellular and Molecular Biology Program 
Medical Scientist Training Program 

Biographical Sketch 
Dr. Anne Woods, Professor, gained a B.Sc. in Cell Biology in 1972 at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK. She worked in industry at the Unilever Research Laboratories, Bedford, UK from 1973-1985. Dr. Woods gained her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1989, and joined the faculty in 1990. Leisure activities include travel, natural history, and antique furniture.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
American Society for Matrix Biology     
American Society for Cell Biology     

Research/Clinical Interest
Syndecan Proteoglycans in Cell Adhesion and Matrix Assembly
My research is aimed at understanding in molecular terms how cells adhere to extracellular matrix, and how they organize the matrix. Reciprocal cell-matrix interactions control cell growth, migration, differentiation, and matrix metabolism. These interactions are pivotal in cell development, and in many disease states including fibrosis, arthritis and cancer metastasis. The integrin family of transmembrane receptors binds to matrix molecules, such as fibronectin, and activates a number of signaling pathways. My research focuses on how another family of transmembrane receptors, the syndecans, act as coreceptors with integrins to modify the primary responses. Syndecans are heparan sulfate proteoglycans that bind matrix molecules, growth factors, lipases and morphogens through their glycosaminoglycan chains, but the intracellular signaling following ligation is only now being elucidated. We showed that syndecan-4 binds and activates protein kinase C alpha during adhesion to the matrix molecule fibronectin, modifying cytoskeletal responses. In contrast, syndecan-2 modifies matrix assembly mediated by integrins, but the intracellular signaling pathways involved are not yet known. We are using molecular biology, transfection studies, yeast two hybrid assays and biochemical analysis, together with classical cell biology microscopy, to determine intracellular, transmembrane and external binding partners for syndecans-2 and -4, and how kinase systems are controlled by this family of receptors.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Chen, L., Couchman, J.R., Smith, J. and Woods, A. (2002). Molecular characterization of chicken syndecan-2 proteoglycan. Biochem. J. 366:481-490.  12038962 
Woods, A. and Couchman, J.R. (2001). Syndecan-4 and focal adhesion function. Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 13:578-583.  11544026 
Woods, A. (2001). Syndecans: transmembrane modulators of adhesion and matrix assembly. J. Clin. Invest. 107:935-941.  11306594 
Woods, A. and Couchman, J.R. (2000). Integrin modulation by lateral association. J. Biol. Chem. 275:24233-24236.  10801896 
Woods, A., Longley, R.L., Tumova, S and Couchman, J.R. (2000). Syndecan-4 binding to the high affinity heparin-binding domain of fibronectin drives focal adhesion formation in fibroblasts. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 374:66-72.  10640397 
Klass, C.M., Couchman, J.R. and Woods, A. (2000). Control of matrix assembly by syndecan-2 heparan sulfate proteoglycan. J. Cell Sci. 113:493-506.  10639336 
Fears, C. and Woods, A. (2006) Syndecans in disease. Matrix Biol. 25:443-456.   
Chen, L., Klass, C.M. and Woods, A. Syndecan-2 regulates transforming growth factor beta signaling. (2004) J. Biol. Chem. 279:15715-15718.   
Greene, D., Tumova, S., Couchman, J.R. and Woods, A. Alpha-actinin interacts with syndecan-4 heparan sulfate proteoglycan. (2003). J. Biol. Chem. In Press.   
Yung, S., Woods, A., Chan, T. M., Davies, M. Williams, J. D. and Couchman, J. R. (2001). Syndecan-4 upregulation in proliferative renal disease is related to microfilament organization. FASEB J. 15:1631-1633; 10.1096/fj.00-0794fje.   
Woods, A and Couchman, J.R. Proteoglycan isolation and analysis. (2000). Current Protocols In Cell Biology. Suppl. 7:10.7.1-10.7.18   
Fears, C.Y., Gladson, C.L. and Woods, A. (2006). Syndecan-2 is expressed in the microvasculature of gliomas and regulates angiogenic processes in microvascular endothelial cells. J. Biol. Chem. 281:14533-14536.   

syndecans, fibronectin, cell adhesion, extracellular matrix