Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BCCN AG-Seminar

Tuesday, 27.05.2008 17 c.t.

Cell movements and cytoskeletal self-organization

by Prof. Dr. Karsten Kruse
from Theoretische Physik, Universität des Saarlandes

Contact person: Fred Wolf

Location

Seminarraum Haus 2, 4. Stock (Bunsenstr.)

Abstract

Many movements of eukaryotic cells are driven by the cytoskeleton. This cellular structure plays essential roles in various vital processes like cell division, cell locomotion, or the internal organization of subcellular components. It consists of filamentous proteins, notably microtubules and actin filaments, which interact with a host of proteins affecting filament lengths, acting as cross-linkers, or functioning as molecular motors. While a lot is now known about the biochemistry of individual cytoskeletal proteins, we still lack a thorough understanding of how these components are organized on a cellular scale. In this talk, theoretical descriptions of cytoskeletal dynamics will be discussed. The central finding is that collective effects emerging from interactions between a few key cytoskeletal components can lead to spatio-temporal structures similar to those observed in cells. Specifically, I will first discuss the cytoskeleton-dependent organization of pigments in cells that allow fish to change color. Secondly, I will discuss the role played by self-organized polymerization waves in the organization of the actin cytoskeleton in crawling neutrophils and amoeba.

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