APS March Meeting: Self Organization in the Cytoskeleton II

  • Speaker
Date & Time

Abstract: Measuring and modeling polymer gradients argues that spindle microtubules regulate their own nucleation

Sebastian Fürthauer
(Flatiron Institute, Simons Foundation)

Bryan Kaye
(SEAS, Harvard University)

olivia steihl
(SEAS, Harvard University)

Peter Foster
(SEAS, Harvard University)

Michael Shelley
(Flatiron Institute, Simons Foundation)

Daniel Needleman
(SEAS, Harvard University)

Sebastian Fürthauer
(Flatiron Institute, Simons Foundation)

Spindle microtubules are nucleated by accessory proteins whose activity is
spatially regulated. It was shown that many spindle assembly factors bind
microtubules. Here, we investigate whether binding microtubules changes the
activity of nucleators. To study this issue, we use novel FLIM-FRET measurements
to map the concentration of microtubules and monomeric tubulin in and around the
spindle. We find that oligomeric tubulin is constrained to the spindle, with no
detectable gradient around it. This argues that microtubule nucleation is
restricted to the spindle. Using mathematical modelling we demonstrate that this
is indicative of a feedback from microtubule binding to nucleator activity. Our
results strongly suggest that nucleators binding to microtubules stimulates
their activity.

About the Speaker

Sebastian Fürthauer joined the Center for Computational Biology in June 2016. Fürthauer is interested in the physics of cellular scale processes, such as cell division and cell motility and their role in developmental biology. After earning his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems and the Max Planck Institute for Cellular Biology and Genetics, in Dresden, Germany, he did research at the Tata Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences in Hyderabad, India, the Courant Institute at New York University and Harvard University. His current work focuses on understanding the role of self-organized processes in the microtubule cytoskeleton of cells, which enable the segregation of chromosomes during cell division.

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