Speaker: Cong YU; Mingxi YAO

Time: 15:00-16:30 Jan 18, 2022 (Tuesday)

Venue: Room 111, Lynn Library

Life Sciences and Healthcare Engineering Interdisciplinary Forum

Date: Jan 18, 2022 (Tuesday)

Time: 15:00-16:30

Venue: Room 111, Lynn Library

Topic: Focal Adhesion Assembly and dynamics regulation

Speaker: Cong YU (Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences)Abstract:

Animal cells live in an environment called extra-cellular matrix (ECM). The interactions between the cells and ECM play fundamental roles in development and in adult organisms by controlling cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, survival, differentiation, and matrix assembly. Transmembrane receptor integrin-mediated focal adhesion (FA) is one of the most important cell-ECM adhesions. The formation of the FAs is a tightly regulated process. During this process, the integrin receptors are clustered and assembled with more than one hundred different proteins. They are quickly organized at the adhesion site through numerous protein-protein interactions and form a tight linkage to actin cytoskeleton. The matured FA structures can conduct force during cell migration and regulate the cytoskeletal organization and cell signaling. Here, I will present our study on understanding the formation and dynamic regulation of the FAs.

Topic: Single-molecule force spectroscopy for mechanobiology and beyond

Speaker: Mingxi YAO (Assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering)


Sensing mechanical properties of the microenvironment plays critical roles in physiological processes such as development, tissue homeostasis, and diseases. Specialized proteins act as mechanosensors in the cell, converting mechanical cues into biochemical signals. Capable of applying physiologically relevant forces on individual proteins and monitoring their conformational changes, magnetic tweezers are the ideal tools to study the working principle of mechanosensing proteins. In this talk, I will introduce single-molecule studies on the mechanosensing mechanisms of adhesion proteins talin and α-catenin, and discuss magnetic tweezers' potential applications in broader areas such as protein folding and protein/DNA interactions.

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