Cell Biology: Mitosis, Ciliogenesis, Intracellular Transport and Motor Protein Functions


Our two major projects are:

1. Intraflagellar Transport Motors and Sensory Ciliogenesis on C. elegans  Neurons.  Featured in UC Davis news.

2. Dynamics and Mechanics of Mitosis in Drosophila: Mechanisms of Anaphase B. Featured in UC Davis news.

Our laboratory is interested in the assembly, mechanism of action and biological functions of subcellular, multimeric, macromolecular machines that are intermediate in scale between individual macromolecules and whole cells, specifically (i) mitotic spindles; (ii) motile and sensory cilia; and (iii) the intracellular transport machinery. The moving parts of these machines are cytoskeletal motors and polymers which convert free energy into force and motion in order to carry out their function. Accordingly our research  combines studies of the basic biochemistry and molecular biology of  microtubule-based motors (kinesins and dyneins) and microtubule polymer dynamics, high resolution time-lapse microscopy of motor action in sensory cilia and mitotic spindles in vivo, and quantitative modeling. Over the years we have studied mitosis, intracellular transport and ciliogenesis in echinoderm embryos, Drosophila embryos and  C. elegans neurons. We hope that this combination of approaches will illuminate the molecular and biophysical principles underlying the roles of cytoskeletal  motors in building subcellular machines and the mechanism of action of the machines that carry out mitosis and chromosome segregation, intraflagellar transport and cilium biogenesis as well as other critical subcellular processes.

University of California, Davis- Dept. of Molecular & Cellular Biology, One Shields Ave. Davis, CA 95616

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