A2: Dynamic microtubules as an integral part of the cytoskeleton

Lead PI: Sarah Köster

Collaborating PIs: Timo Betz, Helmut Grubmüller, Peter Lénárt, Melina Schuh, Peter Sollich, Claudia Steinem

Overarching research question: How are microtubule dynamics influenced by the presence and composition of membranes and cytoskeletal networks?

Microtubules are extremely dynamic, both in cells and in properly prepared in vitro systems. In the cell, microtubules are an integral part of the cytoskeleton and therefore interact with the other filament types, F-actin and intermediate filaments as well as other cellular components, such as membranes of organelles. In an in vitro setting, we investigate the dynamic properties of microtubules in the presence of the other types of cytoskeletal filaments. We develop strategies to image the processes both in 2D and in 3D system and quantitatively analyze the catastrophe frequency, rescue frequency, growth velocity, and disassembly velocity of the microtubules.

Core field: experimental biophysics

PhD training objectives: TIRF microscopy; 3D imaging; biochemical methods (protein purification, handling, labeling); data analysis (image processing, kymograph analysis).