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UConn Health Richard D. Berlin
Center for Cell Analysis & Modeling

CCAM Biophysics

Biological Signaling Platforms
Loew, Mayer

Experimental manipulation of the location, size, and composition of signaling complexes is essential for building and validating quantitative models of spatially organized signaling networks and pathways. Researchers at CCAM are developing standardized methods to experimentally manipulate local concentrations and stoichiometries of membrane-bound and cytosolic signaling complexes (signaling platforms) in living cells. Experimentally manipulating the subcellular localization and/or local concentration of a factor in living cells provides insight to its function and resulting effects on biological activity. CCAM faculty use biological aggregrates, nano-fabrication and optical force to manipulate and study components of signaling networks. An example of a biological singaling platform is the creation of fusion transmembrane proteins that can be aggregated at the plasma membrane by monoclonal antibodies.

Modeling Moving Boundaries

The dynamic interplay between biochemical pathways and cell shape is increasingly recognized as an important means of regulation of cell signaling and cytoskeletal organization. In order to advance the capability of computational models to elucidate the relationship between cell shape and biochemical reactions, we need to be able to account for the simultaneous deformation of the cell and its cytoskeleton. CCAM faculty research the physical, mathematical and computational methods to model how cytoskeletal deformations induce feedback mechanisms in biochemical reactions by, in effect, altering the geometry of the cellular "reaction vessel".

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