Section Head: Professor Ulrike Eggert
Deputy Head: Professor Maddy Parsons
The cytoskeleton drives shape changes during cell migration and the cell cycle, and is required for intracellular movement of molecules and organelles. In animals, the cytoskeleton consists of actin filaments, microtubules and septins, and many organisms also possess intermediate filaments. The cytoskeleton is highly dynamic and changes rapidly in response to extracellular and intracellular cues. The coordinated regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics is essential for the development and maintenance of multi-cellular organisms. It is also central to fighting infections and repairing tissue damage.
(Left image) Podosomes in migrating dendritic cell. (Right) Related fission yeast species S. pombe (small cells) and S. japonicus (large cells)
The laboratories of the Cellular Biophysics Section share a common interest in studying the role of the cytoskeleton in cell division, adhesion, migration and intracellular traffic. We analyse the signalling networks and protein-protein interactions that control the cytoskeleton, using cultured cells and model organisms. We use advanced microscopy approaches to study the dynamic movement and activation of proteins in cells, as well as biochemical and molecular biological methodologies. We also use computational and mathematical modelling to probe the roles of the cytoskeleton and signalling networks during cell migration and cell division.
(Left image) Patterning of haemocytes in Drosophila development. (Right) An invading breast cancer cell
The section has active links with clinical groups working on human diseases, including cancer, inflammation and cardiovascular disorders. Members of the section also work with chemists, mathematicians and physicists.