Awardees' Articles

HFSP Program Grant holders Marie-France Carlier and Reinhard Lipowsky and HFSP Young Investigator Grant holder Guillaume Romet-Lemonne and colleagues

Friday 5th October 2012

The assembly-disassembly dynamics of cytoskeletal polymers such as actin filaments and microtubules support motile and morphogenetic processes in eukaryotes. Understanding the detailed molecular mechanisms by which these dynamic processes are controlled is a challenging task that requires combined biochemical and biophysical approaches. New technological developments in monitoring single actin filament dynamics with unprecedented accuracy and temporal resolution allows quantitative theoretical analysis...

 

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Michael Hiller and HFSP Young Investigator Grant holder Gill Bejerano and colleagues

Monday 1st October 2012

A comparative genomics approach predicts which genomic regions are linked to natural phenotypic differences between species, leveraging specificity resulting from independent phenotypic losses.

 

HFSP Career Development Award holder Fernando Martin-Belmonte and colleagues

Friday 28th September 2012

Cell confinement, by controlling cell spreading, defines the behavior of epithelial cells in the tissues. Low cell confinement limits peripheral actin contractility and promotes centrosome positioning and lumen initiation. This peripheral actin contractility depends on the RhoA–ROCK–myosin II pathway, which is downstream of master kinase Par-4/LKB1.

 

HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Gregory Sutton and colleagues

Thursday 27th September 2012

To jump as quickly as they do, insects use specialized spring-loaded structures to store and release large amounts of mechanical energy. To store this mechanical energy, the locust uses a structure composed of a layer of a soft protein called ‘resilin’ and a layer of hardened insect cuticle. This layering is similar to the construction of a composite bow.

 

Press release for HFSP Career Development Award holder Ido Amit and Program Grant holders Nir Friedman and Aviv Regev and colleagues

Friday 14th September 2012

Since the sequencing of the human genome in 2001, all our genes – around 20,000 in total – have been identified. But much is still unknown – for instance where and when each is active. Next to each gene sits a short DNA segment, and the activity of this regulatory segment determines whether the gene will be turned on, where and how strongly. These short regulatory segments are as – if not more – important than the genes, themselves. Indeed, 90% of the mutations that cause disease occur...

 

HFSP Young Investigator Grant holders Piotr Garstecki, Doug Weibel and Martin Thanbichler and colleagues

Thursday 13th September 2012

The self-assembly of the tubulin-homologue, FtsZ, is a critical step in bacterial cell division. Using dynamic light scattering (DLS), we measured the kinetics of polymerization and the length of Caulobacter crescentus FtsZ and found that this protein forms short linear polymers that are remarkably monodisperse in length. The assembly rate of FtsZ into polymers depends on the concentrations of GTP and GDP. The study demonstrates the insight that DLS provides for studying structure and dynamics of...

 

HFSP Program Grant holder Jennifer Curtis and colleagues

Monday 13th August 2012

Microscopy in small organisms and tissues is a challenge for modern optics. Adaptive optics corrects distortions in the light entering or exiting tissues generating optimal conditions for imaging or photo-stimulation. Using segmentation of the microscope objective’s rear aperture we have established a method of adaptive correction that is compatible with wide-field illumination geometries.

 

HFSP Career Development Award holder Fernando Martin-Belmonte and colleagues

Tuesday 17th July 2012

From a functional screen for genes required for 3D epithelial architecture we identify key roles for Synaptotagmin-like proteins 2 and 4 (Slp2-a/4-a) in generation of epithelial tubes with a single lumen. Together, Slp2-a/4-a co-ordinate the spatiotemporal organization of vectorial apical transport to ensure only a single apical surface, and thus formation of a single lumen, occurs per cell.

 

HFSP Young Investigator Grant holder Pavel Tomancak and colleagues

Monday 16th July 2012

Most primary data in biology are in the form of images. The recent quantum leaps in microscopy have brought about an almost exponential increase in the amount and complexity of imagery that biologists collect. It is no longer possible to extract meaning from these image datasets by simply looking at them, which necessitated the formation of a new branch of scientific inquiry called Bioimage Informatics that combines biology and computer science and focuses on extracting meaningful information from...

 

HFSP Program Grant holders Laurent Blanchoin and Enrique de la Cruz and colleagues

Thursday 12th July 2012

Eukaryotic cells control their shape via tight coordination of the dynamic self-assembly of cytoskeletal polymers (e.g. actin filaments) and modulation of intracellular tension exerted among these filaments by molecular motor proteins (e.g. myosins). Using geometrically controlled and polarized in vitro actin networks we establish a set of general rules that govern the spatial organization of actin filaments and biases introduced by myosin-dependent contraction and disassembly.