6th Annual Symposium
Physics of Cancer
September 7-9, 2015
|PoC - Physics of Cancer - Annual Symposium|
Actin cortex and plasma membrane mechanics in animal cell morphogenesis
MRC LMCB, University College, London, UK
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The shape of animal cells is primarily determined by the cellular cortex, a thin network of actin filaments and myosin motors bound to the plasma membrane. We investigate how the mechanical properties of the cell surface arise from the microscopic organisation of the cortical network and of the membrane, and how changes in these properties drive cell deformation. We have developed methods to investigate the nanoscale architecture of the cortex and are exploring how the organisation of actin filaments in the cortex and the spatial distribution of motor proteins determine cortical tension. We are also investigating how plasma membrane remodelling and dynamic folding influences cell surface mechanics. Using a combination of cell biology experiments, quantitative imaging and theory, we aim to understand how cell surface tension is generated across scales, from molecular processes to cell-scale behaviours.