Jenny Gallop PhD, Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow, Member of the Department of Biochemistry.
Prospective PhD students and postdocs are welcome to apply with a covering email and CV to Jenny Gallop.
Membranes, actin and morphogenesis
How do cells generate and maintain their characteristic shapes? The cell membrane, as the boundary of the cell, is moulded into shape by dynamic remodelling of its links to the actin cytoskeleton during cell division, polarisation, movement, differentiation and for everyday housekeeping.
In disease, the actin machinery is hijacked by invading pathogens. Some actin regulators are overexpressed and redeployed during cancer metastasis, and control of the actin cytoskeleton can be disrupted in genetic diseases, causing intellectual disability, kidney dysfunction and other problems.
We are studying how actin filaments polymerise at two types of specialised structures at the cell membrane: filopodia, which are finger-like protrusions, and endocytic vesicles, which bud inwards to bring in components from the membrane or environment. We have developed model systems using phospholipid bilayers and frog egg extracts that allow us to follow the molecular events of actin self-assembly in different contexts. By focusing on unusual predictions from these in vitro assays, we work out how the actin cytoskeleton is regulated by imaging cells in accessible, native developmental contexts in fruit fly and frog embryos.
• Watson JR et al (2016) Investigation of the Interaction between Cdc42 and Its Effector Toca1: Handover of Cdc42 to the actin regulator N-WASP is facilitated by differential binding affinities. J Biol Chem. 291(26):13875-90.
• Walrant A et al. (2015) Triggering actin polymerization in Xenopus egg extracts from phosphoinositide-containing lipid bilayers. Methods Cell Biol 128: 125–147.
• Gallop JL, Walrant A, Cantley LC, Kirschner MW. (2013) Phosphoinositides and membrane curvature switch the mode of actin polymerization via selective recruitment of toca-1 and Snx9. Proc Natl Acad Sci 110: 7193-7198
• Lee K*, Gallop JL*, Rambani K, Kirschner MW. (2010) Self-assembly of filopodia-like structures on supported lipid bilayers. Science, 329:1341-1345.
• Gallop JL*, Jao CC*, Kent HM, Butler PJ, Evans PR, Langen R, McMahon HT. (2006) Mechanism of endophilin N-BAR domain-mediated membrane curvature. EMBO J. 25: 2898-2910.
• Gallop JL, Butler PJ, McMahon HT. (2005) Endophilin and CtBP/BARS are not acyl transferases in endocytosis or Golgi fission. Nature. 438: 675-678.
• McMahon HT, Gallop JL. (2005) Membrane curvature and mechanisms of dynamic cell membrane remodelling. Nature. 438: 590-596.
*joint first authors