Reconstitution of actomyosin networks for synthetic cell division (BEP/MEP)

Description

The division of eukaryotic cells is driven by a contractile cross-linked network of actin filaments anchored to the plasma membrane and myosin-II motor proteins which drive the cell constriction. Despite its fundamental role in cell biology, how this process occurs is still largely unknown. In this context, bottom-up synthetic biology represents an advantage to study and understand complex cellular processes by reconstituting only the minimal cellular machinery required for them using purified components.

In our lab, we aim to reconstitute functional actomyosin networks inside giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs), which are lipid containers that mimic the real cell membrane, able to generate the force necessary to constrict synthetic cells. 

In this project you will explore the effect of different actin-binding proteins in the organization of the actin cytoskeleton inside GUVs and its myosin-driven contraction. You will learn to produce GUVs with actin cytoskeletal networks inside by using emulsion droplet interface crossing encapsulation (eDICE) and to use advanced microscopy techniques and image analysis tools to acquire and analyze experimental data.

Contact

Marcos Arribas Perez (M.ArribasPerez@tudelft.nl) and Prof. Dr. Gijsje Koenderink (G.H.Koenderink@tudelft.nl)