NIH Distinguished Investigator
Laboratory of Cell and Tissue Morphodynamics
Title: "Active ordering of integrin cell surface receptors by the actin cytoskeleton:
The fundamental basis of directional tension sensing"
Date: This seminar has been POSTPONED
Host: Tim Mitchison and Elizabeth Van Itallie
Abstract: Integrins are adhesion receptors linking cells to their environment, which function as sensors of physical and chemical information to regulate development, immune-response, and vascular function. How integrins receive and transduce directional forces including fluid flow or tissue tension has remained elusive. We used polarization-based microscopy techniques to discover that activated αVβ3 integrins are aligned with one another in focal adhesions in migrating fibroblasts. Integrin co-alignment is sensitive to mechanical resistance of its ligand and coupling to a dynamic F-actin cytoskeleton, consistent with the “cytoskeleton force model” for integrin activation. Our work suggests that activated integrins are actively ordered at the molecular scale by cellular forces, which may underlie their ability to sense directional forces in their environment to mediate critical functions.
About the Speaker: Dr. Waterman is a NIH Distinguished Investigator in the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Her laboratory – the Laboratory of Cell and Tissue Morphodynamics – has made important contributions to our understanding of how cell – ECM adhesion events affect the cytoskeleton. Her lab has tackled this problem with variety of approaches including, but not limited to, quantitative fluorescent speckle microscopy (developed by Dr. Waterman), traction force microscopy, and proteomics. Dr. Waterman is famous for challenging intellectual convention, and she has an influential voice in the role and treatment of women in science.