Cytoskeletal Dynamics

The cytoskeleton is a fundamental component of all eukaryotic cells. From cell division to membrane trafficking to cell adhesion, the cytoskeleton provides a dynamic structural framework that both organizes and regulates numerous cellular activities.

Yale Cell Biology is actively engaged in research that expands our understanding of how the cytoskeleton works at a molecular level and how the cytoskeleton supports critical cellular processes. In particular, we are interested in how the cytoskeleton mediates movement of organelles, transport vesicles, proteins and mRNAs within cells to generate cell polarity. One major focus is on the spatiotemporal control of the actomyosin network in the processes of endocytosis, vesicle fission, cytokinesis, and cell adhesion. Another particular interest is in how altered movement of organelles along microtubules in neurons impacts neurodegeneration. The cytoskeleton is also intimately involved in mechanotransduction, the process by which forces are sensed and transmitted into biochemical signals, from cellular adhesions at the plasma membrane to the nucleus.

Faculty in the department use a wide array of techniques in their studies, from single molecule and reconstitution approaches in vitro to quantitative imaging and super-resolution imaging. These complimentary and synergistic approaches to studying the cytoskeleton foster interactions within the Cell Biology community at Yale and accelerate the rate at which we continue to make new discoveries in this critical area.