The goal of our research is to understand the molecular mechanisms of cell motility, which include: cell migration, regulation of cell shape and extracellular attachment, and intracellular transport. Cell motility is crucial for several normal and pathological processes, including: cell and tissue development, endocytosis, wound healing, immune response, and metastases of tumors.
Myosins are molecular motors that use the energy from ATP to generate force and motion. Members of the myosin family have been found in most eukaryotic cells. The cellular functions of many of these motors are not defined. We are using biochemical, cell biological, and biophysical techniques to better understand these proteins in health and disease.
Most of our current efforts are focused on investigating myosin-I. Myosin-I is the single-headed, membrane-associated member of the myosin family. We are investigating the enzymatic and structural properties of myosin-I, and we are investigating the in vivo organization, dynamics, and physiology of the actomyosin-I cytoskeleton in live and fixed cells using high-resolution microscopy techniques. The correlation of the chemical and physical properties of the cytoskeleton with the cellular dynamics is helping us to better define the molecular mechanisms of cell motility.