Sensing the matrix: transducing mechanical signals from integrins to the nucleus.
Speaker: Pere Roca-Cusachs Soulere
Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) [Barcelona, España]
Host: Jose María de Pereda
Salón de Actos del Centro de Investigación del Cáncer
Cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as key processes in development, tumorigenesis, and wound healing, are strongly determined by the properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM), including its mechanical rigidity and the density and distribution of its ligands. In this talk, I will explain how we combine molecular biology, biophysical measurements, and theoretical modelling to understand the mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to matrix properties. I will discuss how the properties under force of integrin-ECM bonds, and of the adaptor protein talin, drive and regulate matrix sensing. I will further discuss how this sensing can be understood through a computational molecular clutch model, which can quantitatively predict the role of integrins, talin, myosin, and ECM receptors, and their effect on cell response. Finally, I will analyze how signals triggered by rigidity at cell-ECM adhesions are transmitted to the nucleus, leading to the activation of the transcriptional regulator YAP.
Pere Roca-Cusachs obtained his PhD in cellular biophysics in 2007 from the Medical School at the University of Barcelona. He then worked in the lab of Prof. Michael Sheetz (Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University) as a post-doctoral researcher until 2011. In 2011, He joined the University of Barcelona, where he is now an associate professor. In 2012, he obtained a joint position as group leader at the Institute for bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC). He is a recipient of the EMBO Young Investigator Award. The research of his group focuses on unraveling the physical and molecular mechanisms by which cells detect and respond to mechanical force.