Cytoskeletal organization is essential for cell function. Microtubules alone cannot self-assemble. Motors play important roles to organize microtubules, regulate their length and transport cargos along them. Our lab is finding out how kinesin motors are modulated by their cargos and tracks to provide a specific output, and how the coordinated activities of motors are greater than the sum of their individual activities.
Mitosis and the mitotic spindle are some of our favorite processes to study to understand cargo-motor function.
The mitotic spindle is a bipolar structure composed of highly dynamic microtubule polymers. The formation and maintenance of the bipolar spindle and chromosome alignement and segregation during mitosis are critical to maintaining genomic integrity. Several of the mitotic motors are key to controlling these processes and therefore prime candidates as anti-cancer drug targets.
We are also interested in microtubule organization in other cell types. What can they teach us about design principles for biological function?
Our goal is to define how microtubule motors transport and cooperate with their cargos and their microtubule tracks.
Our favorite cargos are:
- other motors and regulatory proteins
- Chromosomes that need to be moved along the spindle
We use a holistic mechanistic approach ranging from structural biology to single molecule imaging and quantitative cell biology.