Cell shape, mechanics and motility are determined to a large extent by the cytoskeleton composed of actin microfilaments, microtubules and intermediate filaments (IF). While the contribution of microtubule and actin filaments has been extensively investigated, the IF involvement has long been neglected. However there is a growing body of evidence that the three cytoskeleton types are acting in cooperation to achieve their functions, especially during cell migration and invasion (1-2). In this context, we propose to use the latest advanced microscopy tools coupled to biophysical, biochemical methods and theoretical modeling in order to gain more insight into the IF biophysical properties and to elucidate how they are integrated inside the cell to fulfill their functional roles.
The aim of the project is to recapitulate the functional modes of IF dynamics starting from a limited number of purified components placed in a simple and well controlled environment. First we will set up an experimental system which allows the observation of single filaments assembly in situ using fluorescence microscopy coupled to microfluidics. Then, we will increase step by step the complexity of the in vitro system, focusing on the crosstalk with the other types of cytoskeletal filaments.
The project is funded by an ANR JCJC and is supervised by Cécile Leduc, in the team “Cell polarity, migration and cancer” headed by Sandrine Etienne-Manneville. Review of applications starts immediately and will continue until position is filled. The contract will end in December 2020. Applications from candidates with a PhD in biophysics and 0-3 years of relevant postdoctoral experience will be considered. We are looking for a talented scientist with expertise in biochemistry and microscopy, as well as a good theoretical background in biophysics. Previous experience in quantitative imaging and/or the cytoskeleton would be a plus but is not required. A high personal motivation to develop a challenging project is required. To apply please submit a cover letter summarizing research interests and expertise, a CV, a list of publications, and names and contact information of two references.