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Actin dynamics in C. elegans

Research Achievements

Actin dynamics in C. elegans

Actin based cell motility is crucial for an organism’s development and function. We are examining actin dynamics in isolated C. elegans cells using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. The MultiSTEPS IGERT has coupled experimental biology with engineering analysis to produce a novel level-set method to track cell boundaries over time, to obtain protrusion and retraction velocities over the entire cell boundary, and to correlate membrane velocities to the underlying actin flow within the cytoplasm. This quantitative analysis has revealed that RNA interference of WASP family arp2/3 activators produces a statistically significant reduction in actin retrograde flow and membrane protrusion. A manuscript to report these findings is underway. Background work in Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) by LaFoy and Vlachos is being presented at a PIV conference in July and will be submitted to Measurement Science and Technology in July.