Technics Used in the Lab:optical microscopy, fluctuation spectroscopy, optical tweezers, micro-injection, protein purification
The group aims to understand how cells move, with the long-term perspective of a better understanding of the cell movements involved in cancer metastasis. We develop biomimetic systems and simplified cellular models that reproduce specific aspects of cell movement under controlled conditions. Using this approach, we canstudy the physical and biochemical mechanisms governing cell movement and cell shape changes. The group has 3 complementary strategies: study of the actomyosin cytoskeleton-membrane system using simple cells and cellular mimics (Sykes Team), the biochemical characterization of biopolymer (actin and Major Sperm Protien) dynamics in vitro and in cells and tissues (Plastino Team), and the analysis and modeling of the mechanical properties of cellular and biomimetic systems (Betz Team).
Biomimetic cell: a liposome filled with the actin machinery is spreading on an adhesive surface. In collaboration with the team of Ludger Johannes (UMR144), we study how actin helps the entry of toxins inside the cell with the use of this artificial system. Basal membrane actin (red), cortical actin (green)
Anchor cell invasion in Caenorhabditis elegans. The vulva of C. elegans (* on the DIC image on the left) is formed by degradation of the basement membrane via a process that is reminiscent of cancer cell invasion. In the right image, the hole in the membrane (indicated by arrow heads) is evident in a worm expressing fluorescent basement membrane. We are studying the role of actomyosin force production in this process in collaboration with Danijela Vignjevic (UMR 144). Scale bar 10 mm. Photo Rodrigo Caceres, 2013.
Colon cancer cells (CT26, green) migration out of an biomimetic tumor into a reconstituted collagen gel (red). The project is in collaboration with Danijela Vignjevic (UMR 144) and investigates the mechanical changes of the ECM in metastatic invasion. (Bar:20μm).