An experimental systems biophysics approach to cell division mechanics
The CeDRE team investigates cell division through a multidisciplinary approach, linking molecular details to cell-level events. Its research interest sums up into the question: How does a robust and adaptive cell division emerge from the numerous interactions of involved players? We hypothesize that the robustness to perturbations (e.g. chromosomal instability in cancer) or adaptability (e.g. to protein evolution) emerges from a network of interacting players well approached by statistical physics. While the proteins differ between organisms, the network is evolutionarily conserved. Such a change of paradigm is highly promising for future applications in cancer therapy.
We focus on in vivo mechanics, i.e. regulation of forces that position the spindle, separate sister chromatids, etc. We investigate not only the dynamics of components but also equilibrium stability. For example, the slow drift in position or length suggest that the spindle is out-of-equilibrium ; it is thought to provide advantage for adaptability. To do so, we develop microscopy and image processing tools to quantify the dynamics in vivo using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism and we model the obtained data using out-of-equilibrium statistical physics.
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