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
We are interested in the molecular basis of cell shape and the changes that occur when cells move and tissues develop. Cell shape is in large part determined by the actin cytoskeleton and remodelling of the cytoskeleton underlies the cell rearrangements that occur during normal morphogenesis and also when morphogenetic programs go wrong, for example in developmental defects and during cancer metastasis. The machinery of the actin cytoskeleton is also hijacked by various pathogens to mediate infection.
Actin filaments are nucleated at cell membranes and are elongated and bundled in different ways to form distinct cytoskeletal structures. We have found that the membrane environment influences which proteins are used to make actin structures. Membranes are interesting to consider in how cells change shape because they are the interface between the outside and inside of the cell and therefore are hubs of signalling activity, as well as being the boundary of the cell that has to be moulded by links to the cytoskeleton.
We are particularly concentrating on how actin is polymerised during filopodia formation and endocytosis. We take a two-pronged approach: (1) reconstitution of actin polymerisation in vitro using artificial membranes and Xenopus egg extracts and (2) investigation of how actin regulators are used by cells in vivo in Drosophila melanogaster and during early development in Xenopus laevis. This interdisciplinary approach gives us the possibility of attaining a complete molecular understanding and also testing those models within the natural complement of physiological signals provided by the whole organism.
• 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