The cell’s nucleus is a dynamic organelle, constantly moving to reposition itself in motile cells and during differentiation. Moreover, the nucleus changes chromatin organization and gene transcription programs in response to mechanical stimuli originating outside of the cell. Though much work has been done to characterize how cell adhesion molecules and the underlying cytoskeleton sense and convert mechanical force into biochemically meaningful reactions, a mechanistic understanding of the nuclear components involved is lacking.
The Olivares lab’s key aim is to create new methods to visualize and manipulate force transduction pathways that span the nucleus. We are interested in understanding how protein complexes within the nuclear envelope transmit force across this double membrane space to position the nucleus and regulate gene expression. Our lab uses a combination of single-molecule force spectroscopy and solution biochemical methods to probe how these complexes assemble, respond to mechanical force and interact with their cytoskeletal and nucleoskeletal binding partners.
Research Keywords: single-molecule microscopy, mechanochemistry, nuclear envelope, LINC complex, protein remodeling