The Assembly, Dynamics and Organisation of Filaments and Cellular Responses
20-21 March 2017, Calman Learning Centre, Room 407, Durham University Workshop Chairs: Roy Quinlan and Tom McLeish
This meeting is the first of a series of Focused Workshops delivered throug the EPSRC NetworkPlus in ‘Understanding the Physics of Life 2’.
Workshop overview: Life is inherently multiscaled ranging from molecules (nm) to 100m (trees) and from femtoseconds (chemical reactions) to millennia (evolution), covering around 27 orders of magnitude in total. This workshop addresses one aspect, namely filament assembly and their higher order organization.
In this workshop we will investigate self-assembly systems and their ability to scale from nanometer to metre in the structures they make and the cell systems they integrate. How these can be prefabricated and deployed within milliseconds to form a protective cage, or grow imperceptibly over many years through the careful addition of new subunits followed by their orchestrated cross-linking to form a nanocomposite like hair is a key research question. Keratin intermediate filaments and their associated proteins are the key components, but the process of building the nanocomposite is unanswered
The role of non-globular domains and cation distribution along the polymer are key to filament assembly and then their scaling into higher order structures by bundling and interfilament organization.
Whilst hair is a very visible external example of keratin assembly, they are also key contributors to the mechanical stability of cells in our body. Intermediate filaments anchor to cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix adhesion sites, connecting individual cells into a trans-cellular network spanning from nanometer to metre if the epidermis is considered as a continuum. Keratin mutations lead to reduced mechanical stability thereby resulting in blister formation as is the case in a diverse group of skin diseases, collectively called genodermatoses. The filaments are in continual flux, exchanging subunits along their length and changing their transcellular distribution according to their environment and age of the cell. Influencing filament dimensions at the nanometer scale is then amplified to the micrometer scale and beyond. The molecular mechanisms responsible for the coordinated restructuring are still poorly understood and how other elements of the cytoskeleton that provide the molecular motors to facilitate these changes are only just being identified.
This workshop will bring together those involved in modelling the non-globular domains/charge component and the dynamics of keratin filaments with those involved in the segmentation, analysis and generation of imaging data of filament assembly systems to review progress, current hypotheses and the orientation of the available and missing experimental tools to understand filament organization in cells and nanocomposites.
Our Focussed Workshop will provide a mechanism to nucleate new collaborative partnerships that will lead to outstanding science and the award of grants by research councils. Discussion sessions will be a very important element of the event, and it is hoped that all attendees will come ready to engage fully in that element of the programme. Our aim by the close of the meeting is to have seeded potential new collaborations and novel lines of cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in this area.
Who should attend?
We invite participation by academic, industrial and clinical scientists in the UK who are interested in the central goal of generating new collaborative research interactions at the physical/life sciences interface focussed on this subject area.
This event is heavily subsidised by PoLNet2, the Durham Biophysical Sciences Institute (BSI) and the Durham Institute of Advanced Study (IAS). A £30 registration fee will be charged which includes all catering (lunch, refreshment breaks and dinner). To register for this workshop please first complete the online registration form below and then make payment via telephone: 0191 334 6912, quoting: 'Filaments and Cellular Responses 20th-21st March' when making the payment. For alternative payment arrangements, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Accommodation and travel costs cannot be covered by the meeting organisers (please email email@example.com for any advice). Registration for this event has now closed.
The meeting will take place at the Calman Learning Centre (Rm 407), Durham University. Maps and directions.