Megan C. King PhD

Assistant Professor of Cell Biology

Research Interests

Microtubules; Nucleus; Nuclear envelope; DNA repair; Cellular mechanics; Telomere biology

Current Projects

  1. Investigating how association of DNA double strand breaks with the LINC complex and cytoplasmic microtubules impacts genome integrity
  2. Testing how association of telomeres with the nuclear envelope impacts telomere maintenance
  3. Using advanced microscopy and force spectroscopy techniques to define the basis for the mechanical behavior of nuclei
  4. Probing the role that the nucleus plays in tissue level mechanics, particularly focusing on the skin.

Research Summary

Macromolecular complexes embedded in the nuclear envelope physically couple the cytoskeleton to the nucleus. These molecular bridges allow the cytoskeleton to regulate nuclear position within the cell. In addition, they provide a mechanism for signals to be mechanically transduced between the cytoplasm and nucleus.

My laboratory is interested in investigating the role(s) of these nuclear envelope bridges in both processes. We are focused on three primary questions. First, we are defining the macromolecular components that link microtubules (and thereby microtubule-dependent force) to the nucleus.

Second, we are interested in the dynamics and mechanism by which microtubule-nuclear interfaces form and dissolve. Finally, we are investigating the means by which cytoplasmic microtubules can affect chromatin organization and dynamics, as well as the biological implications of these effects. We primarily use fission yeast as our model system, taking advantage of the outstanding imaging, biochemical and genetic tools in this organism.

Selected Publications

  • Rebecca K. Swartz, Elisa C. Rodriguez and Megan C. King. A role for nuclear envelope bridging complexes in homology-directed repair. MBoC. 25:2461-71 (2014).
  • Sarah Waelde and Megan C. King. The KASH protein Kms2 coordinates mitotic remodeling of the spindle pole body. J Cell Sci. 27:3625-40 (2014).
  • Megan C. King, Theodore G. Drivas, and Günter Blobel. A network of nuclear envelope membrane proteins linking centromeres to microtubules. Cell. 134, 427-38 (2008).
  • Megan C. King*, C. Patrick Lusk*, and Günter Blobel. Karyopherin-mediated import of integral inner nuclear membrane proteins. Nature. 442, 1003-7 (2006).

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