The cytoskeleton is a key component of eukaryotic cells and is comprised of intermediate filaments, actin filaments and microtubules. Together with molecular motors and a large number of regulatory proteins, the cytoskeleton provides mechanical strength, regulates signal transduction and provides a means of moving organelles and materials within the cell. It also provides the mechanical force for cell motility, cytokinesis, axonal transport and many other basic cellular functions.
Faculty in the department study:
- The dynamics of how these systems assemble and disassemble in response to physiological stimuli
- The structural and mechanical properties of the molecular motors
- The motors responsible for the various types of motility
- The accessory proteins that modulate microtubule and actin stability
- The role of the cytoskeleton in establishing cell polarity and directed cell migration
- How motile organelles are assembled and interact in a coordinated fashion
Labs in This Research Area
Studying espins and the elucidation of their roles in the stereocilia of sensory hair cells in the inner ear
Studying molecular motors and cell motility
Discovering how multiple motors on the surface of the same cargo work together in organelle movement, how these motors are attached to the surface of organelles and what regulates their activity
Studying the intermediate filament (IF) system in fibroblasts, epithelial cells and nerve cells through biochemical, morphological, immunological, cell physiological and molecular techniques.
Our goal is to understand the integration of signaling and cytoskeletal dynamics on diverse developmental processes including centriole amplification, cell migration and cell polarity.
Working to understand how accurate chromosome segregation is achieved during mitosis