Michael Ostap, Ph.D.

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Professor of Physiology
Department: Physiology

Contact information
Pennsylvania Muscle Institute &
Department of Physiology
700A Clinical Research Building
415 Curie Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 573-9758
Lab: (215) 898-3685
B.S. (Chemistry)
Illinois State University, 1988.
Ph.D. (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics)
University of Minnesota, 1993.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Molecular Motors, Cell Motility, Mechanosensing, Single-Molecule Biophysics, Biochemistry

Key words: Cell motility, myosin, actin, biochemistry, biophysics, single molecule, spectroscopy, microscopy, fluorescence, nanotechnology.

Description of Research
The goal of our research is to understand the cellular machinery responsible for powering cell movements and shaping the architecture of cells, tissues, and organs. Our discovery-based research focuses on the role of the cytoskeleton, molecular motors, and signaling pathways in powering cell migration, muscle contraction, and the transport of internal cell compartments. The pathways investigated in our laboratory are crucial for several normal and pathological processes, including: cell and tissue development, endocytosis, wound healing, immune response, cardiomyopathies, and metastases of tumors.

Most of our current efforts are focused on investigating cytoskeletal motors (myosin, dynein, and kinesin). These remarkable nano-machines use chemical energy stored in our cells (in the form of ATP) to generate mechanical force and motion. Cytoskeletal motors are the engines that power muscle contraction, cell migration, intracellular transport, cell division, and cell shape. We are determining how these motors work at the molecular level, how they are physically connected to the machinery they are powering, how they are regulated, how they interact with other motors and signaling networks, and how their fundamental biophysical parameters impact cell function. We are using a range of biochemical, cell biological, single-molecule, and other biophysical techniques to better understand these proteins in health and disease.

Lab Personnel

Betsy Buechler, CAMB Student
Michael Greenberg, Post-doctoral
Tianming Lin, Research Specialist
Serapion Pyrpassopoulos, Post-doctoral
Abbey Weith, Post-doctoral
Michael Woody, BMB Student
Allison Zajac, CAMB Student

Selected Publications

A.J. Kee, L. Yang, C.A. Lucas, M.J. Greenberg, N. Martel, G.M. Leong, W.E. Hughes, G.J. Cooney, D.E. James, E.M. Ostap, W. Han, P.W. Gunning, E.C. Hardeman: An actin filament population defined by the tropomyosin Tpm3.1 regulates glucose uptake. Traffic 16(7): 691-711, Jul 2015.

D. Kast, A. Zajac, E.L.F. Holzbaur, E.M. Ostap, and R. Dominguez: WHAMM Directs the Arp2/3 Complex to the ER for Autophagosome Biogenesis Through an Actin Comet Tail Mechanism. Current Biology 25(13): 1791-7, Jun 2015.

M.J. Greenberg, T. Lin, H. Shuman, E.M. Ostap: Mechanochemical Tuning of Myosin-I by the N-Terminal Region. PNAS 112(26): E3337-44, Jun 2015.

B.B. McIntosh, E.L.F. Holzbaur, E.M. Ostap: Control of the Initiation and Termination of Kinesin-1-Driven Transport by Myosin-Ic and Non-Muscle Tropomyosin. Current Biology 25(4): 523-529, Feb 2015.

M.J. Greenberg, H. Shuman, E.M. Ostap: Inherent Force-Dependent Properties of β-Cardiac Myosin Contribute to the Force-Velocity Relationship of Cardiac Muscle. Biophysical Journal 107(12): L41-4, Dec 2014.

S. Ayloo, J.E. Lazarus, A. Dodda, M. Tokito, E.M. Ostap, E.L.F. Holzbaur: Dynactin functions as both a dynamic tether and brake during dynein-driven motility. Nat Commun 5: 4807, Sep 2014.

H. Shuman, M.J. Greenberg, A. Zwolak, T. Lin, C.V. Sindelar, R. Dominguez, and E.M. Ostap: A Vertebrate Myosin-I Structure Reveals Unique Insights into Myosin Mechanochemical Tuning. PNAS 111(6): 2116-21, Feb 2014.

A. Zwolak, C. Yang, E.A. Feeser, E.M. Ostap, T. Svitkina, R. Dominguez: CARMIL leading edge localization depends on a non-canonical PH domain and dimerization. Nat Commun 4: 2523, 2013.

A.L. Zajac, Y.E. Goldman, E.L.F. Holzbaur, and E.M. Ostap: Local cytoskeletal and organelle interactions impact molecular motor-driven early endosomal trafficking. Current Biology 23(13): 1173-1180, 2013 Notes: Holzbaur and Ostap are co-corresponding authors.

M. Greenberg, T. Lin, Y.E. Goldman, H. Shuman, E.M. Ostap: Myosin-Ic generates power over a range of loads via a new tension sensing mechanism. PNAS 109(37): E2433-40, August 2012.

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Last updated: 07/29/2015
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