John J. Colicelli, Ph.D.

Laboratory Address:
BSRB 34610

Mailing Address:
173717 mail code
615 Charles E. Young Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Work Address:

Co-Director, Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Program
Professor and Vice Chair, Biological Chemistry
Member, Brain Research Institute, JCCC Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program Area, Training Grants in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Tumor Cell Biology
Research Interests
The research program in my laboratory is focused on the characterization of mammalian signal transduction pathways that control cell behavior and fate. Genetic disruptions of these same pathways can lead to altered cell function and pathologies such as cancer. Biochemical and genetic techniques are employed to analyze the role of RAS signaling in normal and transformed cells. There is a particular focus on RIN1, a downstream RAS effector protein. RIN1 interacts with and stimulates ABL family tyrosine kinases, which regulate actin remodeling, and RAB5 proteins, which regulate endocytosis . RIN1 binds specifically to activated RAS, a common oncoprotein. But RIN1 overexpression inhibits transformation of fibroblast and epithelial cells. This could result from a competitive block of other RAS effector pathways or activation of anti-tumor pathways, or both. We are investigating the specific role of RIN1 as a suppressor of breast tumor initiation and progression. We are also examining the role of RIN1 in leukemias and lymphomas, which often involve increased ABL activity. RIN1 is expressed at highest levels in mature forebrain neurons. Disruption of the RIN1 gene results in elevated long term potentiation and enhanced aversive memories in mutant mice. We are investigating the function of RIN1 as a negative modulator of neuronal plasticity and memory. Recent studies suggest that RIN2 and RIN3, two genes closely related to RIN1, have related but distinct signaling functions.

John Colicelli is a cell biologist and biochemist. He joined the Department of Biological Chemistry in the UCLA School of Medicine in 1990. He became a full professor in 2003. Dr. Colicelli earned his B.A. in Chemistry at Rutgers University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Columbia University in New York. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Dr. Colicelli's research is focused on molecular signal transduction in cancer biology and neuronal plasticity. He teaches cell biology at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Colicelli serves as a Departmental Vice Chair and as a member of the School of Medicine Faculty Executive Committee.


A selected list of publications:

Kavitha Balaji, Christopher T. French, Jeff F. Miller and John Colicelli.   The RAB5-GEF Function of RIN1 Regulates Multiple Steps During Listeria monocytogenes Infection, Traffic, 2014; 15(in press): .
Kavitha Balaji and John Colicelli   RIN1 regulates cell migration through RAB5 GTPases and ABL tyrosine kinases. , Communicative & Integrative Biology, 2013; 6: e25421.
Kavitha Balaji, Chelsea Mooser, Christine M. Janson, Joanne M. Bliss, Houmehr Hojjat and John Colicelli.   RIN1 orchestrates the activation of RAB5 GTPases and ABL tyrosine kinases to determine the fate of EGFR Journal of Cell Science, 2012; 125(Pt 23): 5887-96.
Christine M. Janson, Noriyuki Kasahara, George C. Prendergast and John Colicelli.   RIN3 is a negative regulator of mast cell responses to SCF PloS one, 2012; 7(11): e49615.
Minh Thai, Pamela Y. Ting, Jami McLaughlin, D. Cheng, Marcus Müschen, Owen N. Witte and John Colicelli   ABL Fusion Oncogene Transformation and Inhibitor Sensitivity Are Mediated by the Cellular Regulator RIN1, Leukemia, 2011; 25(2): 290-300.
John Colicelli   ABL Tyrosine Kinases: Evolution of Function, Regulation and Specificity, Science Signaling, 2010; 3: re5.
John Colicelli   Signal transduction: RABGEF1 fingers RAS for ubiquitination Current Biology, 2010; 20(15): R630-2.
Joanne M. Bliss, Erin E. Gray, Ajay Dhaka, Thomas J. O'Dell and John Colicelli   Fear learning and extinction are linked to neuronal plasticity through Rin1 signaling Journal of Neuroscience Research, 2010; 88(4): 917-26.
Dzudzor Bartholomew, Huynh Lucia, Thai Minh, Bliss Joanne M, Nagaoka Yoshiko, Wang Ying, Ch'ng Toh Hean, Jiang Meisheng, Martin Kelsey C, Colicelli John   Regulated expression of the Ras effector Rin1 in forebrain neurons Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences, 2010; 43(1): 108-16.
Xiaoqing Cao, Keith Q. Tanis, Anthony J. Koleske and John Colicelli   Enhancement of ABL kinase catalytic efficiency by a direct binding regulator is independent of other regulatory mechanisms The Journal of biological chemistry, 2008; 283(46): 31401-7.
Deininger Katrin, Eder Matthias, Kramer Edgar R, Zieglgänsberger Walter, Dodt Hans-Ulrich, Dornmair Klaus, Colicelli John, Klein Rüdiger   The Rab5 guanylate exchange factor Rin1 regulates endocytosis of the EphA4 receptor in mature excitatory neurons Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2008; 105(34): 12539-44.
Hailiang Hu, Marc Milstein, Joanne M. Bliss, Minh Thai, Gautam Malhotra and John Colicelli   Integration of TGFb and RAS Signaling Silences a RAB5 GEF and Enhances Growth Factor-Directed Cell Migration, Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2008; 28: 1573-1583.
Marc Milstein, Chelsea Mooser, Hailiang Hu, Marlena Fejzo, Dennis Slamon, Sarah Dry, Lee Goodglick and John Colicelli   RIN1 is a breast tumor suppressor gene Cancer research, 2007; 67(24): 11510-6.
Joanne M. Bliss, Byrappa Venkatesh and John Colicelli   The RIN Family of RAS Effectors, Methods in Enzymology, 2006; 407: 335-344.
Hailiang Hu, Joanne M. Bliss, Ying Wang and John Colicelli   RIN1 is an ABL tyrosine kinase activator and a regulator of epithelial-cell adhesion and migration Current Biology, 2005; 15(9): 815-23.
John Colicelli   Human RAS superfamily proteins and related GTPases Science STKE, 2004; 2004(250): RE13.
Ajay Dhaka, Rui M. Costa, Hailiang Hu, Dwain K. Irvin, Apoor Patel, Harley I. Kornblum, Alcino J. Silva, Thomas O'Dell and John Colicelli   The RAS effector RIN1 modulates the formation of aversive memories The Journal of Neuroscience, 2003; 23(3): 748-57.
Ying Wang, Richard T. Waldron, Ajay Dhaka, Apoor Patel, Maggie M. Riley, Enrique Rozengurt and John Colicelli   The RAS effector RIN1 directly competes with RAF and is regulated by 14-3-3 proteins Molecular and cellular biology, 2002; 22(3): 916-26.
Wang Y, Colicelli J   RAS interaction with effector target RIN1 Methods in enzymology. , 2001; 332: 139-51.
Lim YM, Wong S, Lau G, Witte ON, Colicelli J   BCR/ABL inhibition by an escort/phosphatase fusion protein Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. , 2000; 97(22): 12233-8.
Atienza JM, Suh M, Xenarios I, Landgraf R, Colicelli J   Human ERK1 induces filamentous growth and cell wall remodeling pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Journal of Biological Chemistry. , 2000; 275(27): 20638-46.
Atienza JM, Susanto D, Huang C, McCarty AS, Colicelli J   Identification of inhibitor specificity determinants in a mammalian phosphodiesterase Journal of Biological Chemistry. , 1999; 274(8): 4839-47.
Afar DEH, Han L, McLaughlin J, Wong S, Dhaka A, Parmar K, Rosenberg N, Witte ON, Colicelli J   Regulation of the Oncogenic Activity of BCR-ABL by a Tightly Bound Substrate Protein RIN1, Immunity, 1997; 6: 773-782.
Han L, Wong D, Dhaka A, Afar D, White M, Xie W, Herschman H, Witte O, Colicelli J   Protein binding and signaling properties of RIN1 suggest a unique effector function Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. , 1997; 94(10): 4954-9.
Spain BH, Bowdish KS, Pacal AR, Staub SF, Koo D, Chang CY, Xie W, Colicelli J   Two human cDNAs, including a homolog of Arabidopsis FUS6 (COP11), suppress G-protein- and mitogen-activated protein kinase-mediated signal transduction in yeast and mammalian cells Molecular and cellular biology. , 1996; 16(12): 6698-706.
Spain BH, Koo D, Ramakrishnan M, Dzudzor B, Colicelli J   Truncated forms of a novel yeast protein suppress the lethality of a G protein alpha subunit deficiency by interacting with the beta subunit Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1995; 270(43): 25435-44.
Han L, Colicelli J   A human protein selected for interference with Ras function interacts directly with Ras and competes with Raf1 Molecular and cellular biology. , 1995; 15(3): 1318-23.
Pillai R, Fluckiger Staub S, Colicelli J   Mutational mapping of kinetic and pharmacological properties of a human cardiac cAMP phosphodieterase, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1994; 269: 30676-30681.
Pillai R, Kytle K, Reyes A, Colicelli J   Use of a yeast expression system for the isolation and analysis of drug-resistant mutants of a mammalian phosphodiesterase Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. , 1993; 90(24): 11970-4.