Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 13:00
Dr Nathan Goehring
The Francis Crick Institute
The conserved PAR polarity network drives cell polarity in a wide range of contexts, from asymmetric cell division and fate specification to epithelial and neural architecture. At its core is a set of conserved feedback pathways that segregate two sets of opposing PAR proteins into defined membrane domains that specify the axis of polarity and spatially regulate downstream pathways. We currently are working to define the basic principles of this intracellular patterning system that underlies its ability to robustly polarize cells in response to developmental cues, using the C. elegans embryo as a model system. A key question in the lab is understanding how polarized patterns emerge from and are defined by the interplay between the individual mobilities of PAR proteins and the regulation of these mobilities in space and time. I will discuss recent work on functional specialisation between distinct forms of a conserved PAR complex that balances cue sensing and effector functions of the PAR network as well as potential physical constraints on PAR polarity that arise during development.
Nate Goehring is a Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute and a Senior Research Associate at the LMCB at UCL. Nate has a long standing interest in the spatial organisation of cells, obtaining his PhD at Harvard University for work on assembly of the bacterial cell division apparatus and subsequently pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany where he began his work on the PAR polarity in the early C. elegans embryo. His work combines quantitative cell biology, genetic and pharmacological perturbation and mathematical modelling to uncover the core organising principles of PAR polarity networks, specifically focussing on how dynamic regulation of feedback and protein mobility give rise to the emergence of the polarised state of the cell.