SFB 1032: Nanoagents for Spatiotemporal Control of Molecular and Cellular Reactions

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SFB1032 Special Seminar

Martin Lenz, LPTMS of CNRS and Université Paris-Sud, France

08.12.2015 at 12:00 

Title: One cage and two springs: leveraging membrane mechanics to understand membrane trafficking

Venue: Altbau Physik, Kleiner Physikhörsaal N020

Host: Prof. Chase Broedersz (B12)


Cells are anything but autarkic, and constantly perform massive exchanges of matter through their enclosing membrane. These exchanges are largely mediated by protein machines which mold the membrane into import-export vesicles a few tens of nanometers in diameter. The basic physical principles of these processes remain quite unclear, largely due to the difficulty of observing dynamics and measuring forces at this small scale. In a longstanding collaboration with the Roux lab in Geneva, we apply a strategy to sidestep these challenges to three crucial players of membrane trafficking: clathrin, dynamin and ESCRT-III. In our approach, in vitro experiments at the micron scale monitor the effects of membrane mechanics on the associated import-export processes. We then use theory to uncover the implications of these results at the protein scale, revealing the role of protein springiness - or lack thereof - in a way that structural studies cannot.