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.
Working towards understanding the molecular mechanisms for how cell polarity is coordinated as well as how individual cilia interpret the cells polarity
Seeking to understand the functions of molecular motor tails in detail, and to understand how the function of a motor’s tail, combined with the function of its head, enables it to fulfill its role in the cell
Working to understand how accurate chromosome segregation is achieved during mitosis