Actin Biomechanics and Cell Dynamics (ABCD)

Actin is most abundant cellular protein in mammalian cells. It assembles into filaments, which along with hundreds of accessory actin associated proteins (including molecular motors of the myosin family) form diverse superstructures that together comprise the actin cytoskeleton. The actin cytoskeleton is responsible for the maintenance of cell shape, generation of cell motility, establishing cell adhesion to other cells and extracellular substrates, and cell mechanosensitivity. 

Our laboratory studies the basic (ABCD) processes of self-organization of actin structures in the cell, which depends on the assembly of actin filaments mediated by proteins from the formin family, cell contractility mediated by myosins, and anchorage and nucleation of the actin arrays at adhesion complexes (such as focal adhesions, podosomes and cell-cell junctions). We are also interested in the crosstalk between the actin cytoskeleton and other cytoskeletal systems. In particular, crosstalk between actin and microtubules plays an important role in the processes of intracellular trafficking, as well as in the regulation of the dynamics of cell matrix adhesions. Finally, actin self-organization in the cell is coordinated by diverse signaling molecules, among which small G proteins from the Rho and Arf families and protein tyrosine kinases are also within our sphere of interest. The main direction of our recent research focuses on understanding actin cytoskeleton- and adhesion-dependent mechanisms of cell mechanosensitivity, and the establishment of left-right cell asymmetry.

  • MBI NUS weizmann institute