David Pruyne, PhD
RESEARCH PROGRAMS AND AFFILIATIONS
Understanding how muscle cells organize their actin cytoskeleton into efficient contractile units, using a combination of in vitro biochemistry, and analysis of cultured muscle cells and genetic models C. elegans and zebrafish.
Histology for graduate and medical students.
ASSOCIATIONS / MEMBERSHIPS
The actin cytoskeleton is a network of protein filaments that populate the cell's cytoplasm. In muscle cells, a precise arrangement of these filaments allows for muscle contraction. Our primary goal is to understand at the molecular level how these filaments come to be arranged. Our focus is on the family of actin-organizing proteins called FHOD-family formins. The FHOD proteins are across animals, and are known to promote the proper organization of the muscle cell cytoskeleton, but details of how they contribute remain unclear. We are probing the functions of FHOD homologs through a combination of biochemical assays using purified proteins, microscopic studies using primary cultures of avian muscle cells, and genetic studies of muscle development in the model organisms Caenorhabditis elegans and the zebrafish Danio rerio.