Bioengineering Seminar Series
"Mechanobiology of Membrane: from Mechanosensitive Channels to Artificial Cells"
Allen P Liu, Ph.D.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Biological membranes are involved in a large number of cellular processes
including cell migration, membrane trafficking, and cell signaling.
A significant amount of work has elucidated the molecular machineries that
regulate dynamic membrane-based processes. In parallel, there are growing
interests in recent years in trying to understand how the mechanical state of
the cells are utilized as a regulatory input to control cellular
processes. The Liu Lab is interested in studying the mechanochemical responses
of biological systems. In this talk, he will present two projects related
to this theme. On the cellular level, they have reconstituted the function
of a bacterial mechanosensitive channel MscL in mammalian cells. Using
this system, they investigated the role of actin cytoskeleton in mediating
local membrane tension that activates MscL. On the
synthetic level, they are building artificial systems that can sense
mechanical input and transduce a biochemical response. To that end, they are
attempting to build artificial platelets that mimic the functionalities of
natural platelets. He will discuss several modular platforms that they have
developed that together will integrate into functional artificial cells.
Together, their work will provide basic understanding of cellular
mechanotransduction and potential applications of force-activated