Why we do what we do
Cells employ tiny machines called ‘motor proteins’ to carry out a myriad of functions including maintenance of cellular organisation, transport of substances across the cell, and generation of forces required for cell division. These activities of motor proteins are facilitated by polymers inside the cell termed ‘microtubules’. Microtubules function as tracks for motor movement, and alternately as ropes which motor proteins pull on. Several cellular processes require a coordination of motor proteins and microtubules. Scientists have gained a wealth of information by replicating cellular processes involving motors and microtubules outside living cell, in what are called ‘in vitro’ experiments. However, understanding the complex intracellular milieu within which motors operate to organise the cell remains an elusive quest. A thorough investigation of processes regulating motors and microtubules therefore lets us see how these processes unravel in both contexts of health and disease (including neurodegeneration and cancers), where they go rogue.
Our main research themes are:
Regulation of motor proteins
Cellular decision making
In vivo single-molecule imaging
If you want to learn more about our research, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
REGULATION OF MOTOR PROTEINS
The Cytomotors lab has implicated an actin-based (actin is another kind of cytoskeleton polymer) motor protein (Myo1) in the regulation of a microtubule-based motor protein (dynein), unveiling a rare interplay between motor groups and an interaction between actin- and microtubule-based machinery. Publication: Thankachan et al., PNAS 2017