Dr. Clare M. Waterman, Ph.D.
NIH Distinguished Investigator Laboratory of Cell and Tissue Morphodynamic
"Integration of Actin Dynamics and Cell Adhesion by a Three-dimensional, Mechanosensative Molecular Clutch"
Forces generated in the actin cytoskeleton are transmitted across transmembrane receptors to the extracellular matrix (ECM) or other cells during directed migration. Force transmission from the cytoskeleton to the receptors is mediated by a series of mechanosensitive regulatable, indirect protein-protein interactions termed the “molecular clutch.” In integrin-based focal adhesions, the proteins making up this linkage are organized into a conserved threedimensional nano-architecture. Molecular clutches of similar architecture likely mediate cell adhesive interactions during tissue morphogenesis, the immune response, and vascular function.