10th Annual Symposium
Physics of Cancer
Leipzig, Germany
September 25-27, 2019
Invited Talk
From molecular interactions to intermediate filament mechanics
Sarah Koester
Georg August University Göttingen, Institute for X-Ray Physics, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen
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Intermediate filaments (IFs) represent one of the three filament networks in eukaryotic cells and as such are majorly involved in defining the mechanical properties of the cell. Two aspects make these filaments particularly interesting from a cell physics point of view: they show an interesting behaviour at high strains and they are expressed in a cell type specific manner. The latter point is particularly interesting in biological processes like the epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition (EMT), i.e. during cancer metastasis, wound healing or development. When stationary cells transform into motile cell, they need to alter their mechanical properties, possibly driven by differential expression of IFs. Our single filament studies using optical tweezers in combination with analytical and numerical descriptions unravel the molecular origins of the force-strain behavior of IFs and provide evidence of how cell may tune their properties in order to adapt to specific requirements.
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