Biological machinery may be more than the sum of its parts in isolation, but it cannot be greater than the sum of the parts and their interactions. We are interested in the general question of how complex cellular functionalities emerge from molecules and their interactions, with a primary focus on endocytosis.
Our main research interests loosely fall into these two themes: the integration logic of protein assemblies involved in membrane traffic, and the physical and molecular basis underlying the variabilities of the endocytic machinery.
Specifically, we are interested in elucidating: the interplay of various curvature generating mechanisms, the coupling between actin-mediated force generation and membrane remodeling. We will develop experimental strategies to tackle these problems at three levels: live cell studies, cell-free reconstitution using cytosolic extracts and in vitro reconstitution with artificial membrane and purified proteins.
Collectively we aim to obtain a better understanding of endocytosis as a coherent but plastic machinery. We also think a more sophisticated mechanistic framework obtained here will allow us to pinpoint the subtle aberrations whose accumulating effects are detrimental in many diseased states.
Yong J, Chen Y, and Wu M. Real-Time Monitoring of Clathrin Assembly Kinetics in a Reconstituted System. Methods Mol. Biol. 2018; 1847:177-187. [PMID: 30129017]
Yang Y, and Wu M. Rhythmicity and waves in the cortex of single cells. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. 2018; 373(1747). [PMID: 29632268]
McPherson PS, and Wu M. Light, space, and time in cancer signaling. Mol. Biol. Cell2018; 29(6):688. [PMID: 29535172]
Wu Z, Su M, Tong C, Wu M, and Liu J. Membrane shape-mediated wave propagation of cortical protein dynamics. Nat Commun 2018; 9(1):136. [PMID: 29321558]
Yang Y, Xiong D, Pipathsouk A, Weiner OD, and Wu M. Clathrin Assembly Defines the Onset and Geometry of Cortical Patterning. Dev. Cell 2017; 43(4):507-521.e4. [PMID: 29161594]