By Julie Theriot (HHMI/Stanford University)
In her seminar, Dr. Theriot describes a thermodynamic model that proposes a mechanism by which the energy associated with a polymerizing cytoskeletal filament can be converted to force for cell movements. What predictions of the model would you measure in order to test the idea that the proposed mechanism is used to propel a Listeria bacterium through cytoplasm in infected cells and how might this illuminate the mechanism of neutrophil motility in the blood?
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This lecture covers the biochemical basis of actin-based motility (focusing on the pathogen Listeria as a model system for this process), the biophysical mechanism of polymerization-based force generation, and an evolutionary perspective of cell shape in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The first part covers our understanding of how cells use the actin cytoskeleton to crawl. The pathogenic bacteria Listeria (which causes food poisoning) uses the actin cytoskeleton to propel itself in the cytoplasm and also invade other cells. This system has been an important model for understanding the actin cytoskeleton at the leading edge of a motile cell and for understanding host-pathogen interactions.
Julie Theriot grew up in Illinois and attended college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating in 1988 with degrees in Physics and Biology. She pursued graduate training at the University of California at San Francisco with Dr. Timothy Mitchison, earning her Ph.D. in Cell Biology in 1993. After four years as a Whitehead Fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she moved to the Stanford University School of Medicine where she is currently an Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology.
Theriot’s research focuses on cell organization and motility, and on host-pathogen interactions in bacterial infections. She has won numerous awards including teaching awards from both Ph.D. and M.D. students. Theriot has also been awarded fellowships from both the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
- Julie Theriot iBioSeminar Part 2: Force Generation by Actin Assembly: Theories and Experiments
- Julie Theriot iBioSeminar Part 3: Principles of Cellular Organization: The Universal Cytoskeleton
- Hugh Huxley iBioMagazine: How Muscle Contracts