Spatial patterning of proteins at the single cell level

16 Mar 2012

Adriana Dawes
Department of Molecular Genetics
Ohio State University


Many cells must segregate proteins to distinct areas of the cell in order to function properly, for instance when polarizing for directed motility or asymmetric cell division. However, many of these protein domains are not separated by a physical barrier and since diffusion would easily defeat any asymmetry on a cellular scale, there must be some active process or interaction that is maintaining these domains. In honour of The Alan Turing Year, I will discuss the conceptual basis of several theoretical models that have been proposed to investigate protein segregation and pattern formation on the cellular scale, including Turing's morphogenesis model. I will open the discussion further to include the potential role of mechanical elements such as microtubules or the actin cytoskeleton as well as intercellular communication in establishing and maintaining distinct protein domains.

current theory lunch schedule