Research Training Group 2154 - Materials for Brain

RTG Colloquium talk by Dr. Kate Poole: Probing the activity of mechanically activated ion channels at the cell-substrate interface

Department of Physiology and EMBL Australia Node for Single Molecule Science, UNSW, Sydney, Australia

Oct 11, 2018 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

TF, Aquarium

The ability of cells to sense and respond to their physical environment is fundamental to a broad spectrum of biological processes. Cells express an array of force sensors that can transduce mechanical inputs into biochemical signals, including mechanical-ly activated (MA) ion channels. These ion channels form pores in the plasma mem-brane and their open probability increases with increasing mechanical input, leading to rapid signal transduction. While there have been many recent advances in under-standing signalling via MA ion channels, in particular via the PIEZO proteins, there are a number of open questions in the field; how are MA channels modulated by cell endogenous and cell exogenous factors across different cells and tissues, how do MA ion channels respond to forces applied to distinct cellular compartments and how can we identify additional MA ion channels? We have been studying how MA chan-nels are activated within the interface between cells and their substrate, using elas-tomeric pillar arrays as force transducers. This approach allows us to probe the effect of manipulating substrate composition and mechanics on MA channel activity. In ad-dition, we have used this approach to identify channels that are only activated within the cell substrate interface and we are currently investigating how such signalling impacts melanoma cell migration and invasion. Our data suggest that the integration of mechanical signalling from multiple MA channels engenders cells with the ability to distinguish between variant mechanical inputs.

Christine Selhuber-Unkel

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