Professor Viola Vogel
Laboratory of Applied Mechanobiology, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
"How Cells and Bacteria Exploit Proteins as Mechano-Chemical Signaling Switches"
The physical and biochemical properties of extracellular matrix and of synthetic materials provide critical cues to cells, from mechano-regulated bacterial adhesion to angiogenesis, and finally to the differentiation of stem cells. It is thus of major importance to gain mechanistic insights into how mechanical stretching of extracellular matrix molecules can alter various cell functions. While investigating these three distinct physiological processes, common motifs are emerging how bacteria and cells take advantage of mechanical forces to regulate the function of proteins by stretching them out of their equilibrium structures. In this context, new assays and techniques were developed that allow probing how the stretching of proteins alters their structure-function relationships. Taken together, new insights into various underpinning mechanotransduction events are emerging how mechanical cues are translated into biochemical signals that ultimately regulate bacterial adhesion and various cellular processes.