We investigate the function and regulation of microtubule networks in mammalian cells. Microtubules play important roles in a variety of cellular processes, including cell division, cell migration, and neuronal morphogenesis. The microtubule polymer is highly dynamic within cells, and a large number of microtubule-associated proteins interact with microtubules and modulate their dynamics, nucleation, and stability, as well as their interactions with other proteins and organelles. Microtubule dynamics and interactions are precisely and differentially regulated within each of the cellular processes in which microtubules function, and thus also across development, the cell cycle, and intracellular space. Misregulation of these properties can lead to disease progression, and it is thus important to understand how changes in microtubule dynamics facilitate function, and how these changes are regulated.
We primarily investigate these problems in mammalian cells and in vitro reconstitution using purified proteins, employing a variety or techiniques including genome modification strategies, live-cell fluorescence microscopy, and quantitative interaction proteomics.
Our DFG grant on studying novel mechanisms of microtubule/spindle stability was fully funded!