Spatial Organization in Cells and Nuclei
Thursdays at 3:00 pm in Research Hall room 163
Lockett abstract: The spatial organization of molecules inside cells controls biological processes, and it is hypothesized that direct alteration of spatial
organization through physical shape changes to cells can drive biological processes. The Optical Microscopy and Analysis Laboratory (OMAL) is pursuing two projects on this topic. The first project, which is in collaboration with the Mouse Cancer Genetics Program and the Molecular Targets Laboratory in Frederick, utilizes micropatterns to force cells to grow in pre-defined shapes. We compared two malignant peripheral neural sheet tumor (MPNST) cell lines that have different proliferation rates but look similar in standard cell culture. By micropatterning, we discovered quantitative differences between the two lines in terms of the curvature of their cell edges, leading us to ask whether there is a functional relationship between membrane tension and cell growth rate. The second project, in collaboration with Dr. Tom Misteli (NCI Bethesda), is to develop a high throughput screen for breast cancer based on changes in the degree of centeredness of DNA sequences of specific genes in cell nuclei. The main challenge is automatic identification of accurately delineated nuclei within intact tissue for gene centeredness measurement.