Navigating the cytoskeleton: novel tools to dissect and direct intracellular transport
Lukas Kapitein (Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Active transport is important for proper cellular organization and functioning. Such transport is driven by a large variety of molecular motor proteins that can walk over cytoskeletal biopolymers such as microtubules and F-actin. Whereas controlled biophysical experiments using purified components have revealed many of the basic properties of these fascinating machines, much less is known about their specific intracellular activity and about the interplay between cytoskeletal organization and transport. To address these questions, we have developed novel tools to control the activity of specific motors inside cells. These experiments have revealed different mechanisms by which the underlying organization of the microtubule network guides motor transport to specific destinations. In addition, these tools enabled us to remote-control intracellular transport and alter cellular behavior using light.
Lukas Kapitein is assistant professor at the Division of Cell Biology of Utrecht University, where his group develops novel approaches to understand how the cytoskeleton and their associated motor proteins contribute to cellular organization and morphology. The combined use of well-controlled, inducible intracellular transport assays and fluorescence nanoscopy of the cytoskeleton offers unique insights into the interplay between cytoskeletal organization and motor-driven transport.