Kenyi Saito Diaz

Kenyi Saito Diaz

PhD student , Cell and Developmental Biology

U-4200 MRB3
(615) 322-1412 (lab)

Kenyi comes to us from Lima, Peru where he attained his B.S. in Biology from the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in 2008. He is heavily involved in acclimating other students from Peru and Latin America to academic life in the U.S. Basically, he's a celebrity in Lima, over here we think he's pretty cool too.


Research Description


Studies in our lab support a role for heterotrimeric Gβγ in the regulation of the canonical Wnt pathway. In this model, Gβγ promotes the phosphorylation of LRP6 by membrane recruitment of GSK3. Our lab and others have demonstrated that Gαo can also regulate Wnt signaling, although a detailed mechanism as to how this occurs is lacking. Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins are a family of proteins that promote GTP hydrolysis by G proteins, thereby inhibiting signaling initiated by G protein coupled receptors. Axin contains an RGS domain that has been shown to bind APC and Gαo. A model has been proposed in which Gαo disrupts Axin-GSK3, thus inhibiting β-catenin phosphorylation and degradation. These studies were performed in cultured mammalian cells and cellular extracts. The goal of my study is to biochemically probe the interaction between Gαo and Axin using purified components, and to provide mechanistic insight into how Gαo-Axin binding leads to inhibition of β-catenin phosphorylation and degradation.