In multicellular organisms, cells generate and undergo mechanical forces that propagate throughout the organism. These forces can determine the shape of tissues and organs, and regulate genetic programs. However, the molecular mechanisms of the transmission of mechanical forces and their transduction into biochemical signals are poorly understood.
Our project focuses on the macromolecular complexes that transmit and transduce these mechanical signals within and between cells, and the cellular functions that depend on them. We are interested in plasma membrane adhesion receptors, nuclear envelope transmembrane complexes and their functions in cell adhesion, migration, proliferation and transcriptional activity.
To address this goal, we develop and use genetically encoded biosensors and advanced microscopy and micromanipulation methods on cell culture model systems. This combination allows us to dynamically and quantitatively control and measure the behavior of protein complexes and cells in a wide range of time and length scales.