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Cambridge Centre for Physical Biology


CPB Seminar

19 November | 14.30 | Zoom


Matthieu Piel - Institute Curie (Paris)

The actin cortex in live cells

19 November | 14.30 | Zoom










A thin meshwork of actin filaments form below the plasma membrane, forming the cell outer layer also called the cell cortex. This layer produces forces to shape cells and make them motile. Its central function in cell morphogenesis justified intense studies for now several decades. The quantity of accumulated knowledge about that structure is thus now huge. Nevertheless, because it is very thin and dense, detailed observations of the actin cortex in live cells have been limited and the assembly of actin structures have mostly been observed in vitro. Here I will describe what we learned using two novel approaches: 1) observing the actin cortex as it forms on the bare membrane of a stable bleb induced by cell confinement and 2) pinching the cortex in live cells between two magnetic beads to measure its thickness and mecanical properties.