Department of Cell Biology and Department of Biomedical Engineering - Johns Hopkins University
Host: Stone Chen
“Generating Force in Living Cells at Will”
At all levels in biology, form and function are closely related; functions of a given biological entity ranging from molecules to tissues are often ruled by its form, and vice versa. One such example at a subcellular scale is the form-function interplay at intracellular organelles like nucleus and mitochondria. However, it has long been out of reach to test a causal relationship between organelle morphology and functions, primarily because existing experimental approaches are limited in manipulating these small entities inside cells.
In general, physical operations on cells are achieved with atomic force microscopy and optical tweezers, which are tractable for a target outside cells, but cannot be readily applied to an intracellular target. In the seminar, I will introduce a strategy based on genetically-encoded molecular tools which can rapidly generate constrictive force against target organelles in living cells with high precision in space and time. Since altered morphology of organelles is often observed under pathophysiological conditions, our approach may lead to new biological insights for a mechanism of their pathogenesis.