C. elegans : a model for intracellular transport
We are highly interested in using C. elegans as a model organism to study intracellular transport. In particular, we have focused so far on a special form of intracellular transport in chemosensory cilia: intraflagellar transport. We try to find out how this complex transport mechanism, in which trains of cargo are transported by three motor proteins (2 kinesins and 1 dynein), works and is regulated. To this end we make mutant animals with fluorescently labeled IFT proteins, expressed at natural levels. Furthermore, we have developed an advanced microscopy toolset, including image / data analysis, which allows obtaining quantitative insight in motility on the single-molecule and bulk levels. In the future we hope to link molecular insights to animal behavior (in particular chemotaxis).
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