Synthetic actomyosin-membrane cortex
Project leader: Stephan Grill
The project focuses on the two-way interaction between actomyosin cortex and lipids. In cells, the actomyosin cell cortex and the cell membrane are functionally coupled to form a mechanically active and multi-layered system that drives cell shape changes. Little is known on how this coupling affects small-scale events that are relevant for the organization of lipid microdomains in the membrane or molecular force generation processes in the actomyosin cortex. Our central aims are to unravel how actomyosin contractility contributes to the compartmentalization of lipids and proteins in the membrane, and how the strength of lipid-to-actin coupling affects the actomyosin contractility. Using light-controllable myosin motors to reconstitute a synthetic actomyosin cortex on realistic lipid bilayers, our project will shed light on how molecular-scale force generation processes give rise to large-scale membrane-cortex dynamics.