Basic Life Science Research Associate, Mechanical Engineering
Reconstitution of muscle cell microtubule organization in vitro.
Cytoskeleton (Hoboken, N.J.)
Skeletal muscle differentiation occurs as muscle precursor cells (myoblasts) elongate and fuse to form multinucleated syncytial myotubes in which the highly-organized actomyosin sarcomeres of muscle fibers assemble. Although less well characterized, the microtubule cytoskeleton also undergoes dramatic rearrangement during myogenesis. The centrosome-nucleated microtubule array found in myoblasts is lost as the nuclear membrane acquires microtubule nucleating activity and microtubules emerge from multiple sites in the cell, eventually rearranging into a grid-like pattern in myotubes. In order to characterize perinuclear microtubule organization using a biochemically tractable system, we isolated nuclei from mouse C2C12 skeletal muscle cells during the course of differentiation and incubated them in cytoplasmic extracts prepared from eggs of the frog Xenopus laevis. Whereas centrosomes associated with myoblast nuclei gave rise to radial microtubule arrays in extracts, myotube nuclei produced a sun-like pattern with microtubules transiently nucleating from the entire nuclear envelope. Perinuclear microtubule growth was suppressed by inhibition of Aurora A kinase or by degradation of RNA, treatments that also inhibited microtubule growth from sperm centrosomes. Myotube nuclei displayed microtubule motor-based movements leading to their separation, as occurs in myotubes. This in vitro assay therefore recapitulates key features of microtubule organization and nuclear movement observed during muscle cell differentiation.
View details for DOI 10.1002/cm.21710
View details for PubMedID 35666041
Microfluidic Surgery in Single Cells and Multicellular Systems.
Microscale surgery on single cells and small organisms has enabled major advances in fundamental biology and in engineering biological systems. Examples of applications range from wound healing and regeneration studies to the generation of hybridoma to produce monoclonal antibodies. Even today, these surgical operations are often performed manually, but they are labor intensive and lack reproducibility. Microfluidics has emerged as a powerful technology to control and manipulate cells and multicellular systems at the micro- and nanoscale with high precision. Here, we review the physical and chemical mechanisms of microscale surgery and the corresponding design principles, applications, and implementations in microfluidic systems. We consider four types of surgical operations: (1) sectioning, which splits a biological entity into multiple parts, (2) ablation, which destroys part of an entity, (3) biopsy, which extracts materials from within a living cell, and (4) fusion, which joins multiple entities into one. For each type of surgery, we summarize the motivating applications and the microfluidic devices developed. Throughout this review, we highlight existing challenges and opportunities. We hope that this review will inspire scientists and engineers to continue to explore and improve microfluidic surgical methods.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.chemrev.1c00616
View details for PubMedID 35049287
Modular, cascade-like transcriptional program of regeneration in Stentor.
The giant ciliate Stentor coeruleus is a classical model system for studying regeneration and morphogenesis at the level of a single cell. The anterior of the cell is marked by an array of cilia, known as the oral apparatus, which can be induced to shed and regenerate in a series of reproducible morphological steps, previously shown to require transcription. If a cell is cut in half, each half will regenerate an intact cell, including a new oral apparatus in the posterior half. We used RNAseq to assay the dynamic changes in Stentor's transcriptome during regeneration, after both oral apparatus shedding and bisection, allowing us to identify distinct temporal waves of gene expression including kinases, RNA binding proteins, centriole biogenesis factors, and orthologs of human ciliopathy genes implicated in Meckel and Joubert syndromes. By comparing transcriptional profiles of different regeneration events in the same species, we were able to identify distinct modules of gene expression corresponding to oral apparatus regeneration, posterior holdfast regeneration, and recovery after wounding. By measuring gene expression in cells in which translation is blocked, we show that the sequential waves of gene expression involve a cascade mechanism in which later waves of expression are triggered by translation products of early-expressed genes. Among the early-expressed genes, we identified an E2F transcription factor and the conserved RNA binding protein Pumilio as potential regulators of regeneration based on the expression pattern of their predicted target genes. RNAi mediated knockdown experiments indicate that Pumilio is required for regenerating oral structures of the correct size. We show that E2F is involved in the completion of regeneration but is dispensable for earlier steps. This work allows us to classify regeneration genes into groups based on their potential role for regeneration in distinct cell regeneration paradigms, and provides insight into how a single cell can coordinate complex morphogenetic pathways to regenerate missing structures.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.80778
View details for PubMedID 35924891