Molecular and Cellular Mechanobiology

The Molecular and Cellular Mechanobiology research line is focused on the mechanisms underlying mechanical regulation of biological systems. Cellular and molecular forces have emerged to play a fundamental role in a wide array of biological processes. We investigate the chemo-mechanical properties of molecular motors and transcription factors and, more in general, biomolecular interactions. We also study the molecular mechanisms of mechano-transduction, i.e. the conversion of mechanical signals into changes in gene expression and cell fate. We use laser light to manipulate single biological molecules or cells. High-speed optical tweezers allow us to measure the mechanical properties of single motor proteins, investigate target search of transcription factors along DNA as well as load-dependence of the interaction between mechano-transductor proteins and the actin cytoskeleton. Light is also used to image and track single motor proteins and measure intracellular forces through genetically encoded force sensors.

People Involved

Marco Capitanio, Group Leader
Laura Perego
Anatolii Kashchuk
Lucia Gardini
Francesco Saverio Pavone