User:Grant Shoffner/Notebook/In Vitro Cell Motility

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Basic Questions

Cells move, flow, wedge, retract, and divide. These macroscopic behaviors are driven by the cellular cytoskeleton, a dynamic, locally organized system comprised of dozens of proteins. This project focuses on how just two of these--actin filaments and myosin motor proteins--play into the mix of cytoskeletal mechanics. How do these two proteins self-organize into the ultra-structures behind cell motility? What are the static and dynamic properties of these networks? And how are the cellular membrane and cytoplasmic boundary layer involved?

Project Description

In this experiment actin and myosin purified from muscle tissue are inserted in lipid bilayer vesicles along with ATP. The hypothesis is that interactions among the proteins and with the vesicle boundary will result in large-scale network formation and mechanical deformation of the vesicle. Interactions will be observed via fluorescence video microscopy.

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