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Membrane-triggered actin polymerisation: molecular mechanisms and morphogenesis

Final Report Summary - MEMBRANESACTIN (Membrane-triggered actin polymerisation: molecular mechanisms and morphogenesis)

This project elucidated the microscopic mechanisms of how protein building blocks inside cells that comprise the "actin cytoskeleton" assemble where and when they do. We found that two lipid signals in cell membranes are important and we worked out how they cause the actin cytoskeleton to assemble when cells take substances up in a process called endocytosis. We also discovered that finger-like projections from cells, called filopodia, have patterns in their growth and shrinkage behaviour which we have been able to explain from the interaction in how different microscopic mechanisms work together. These discoveries are helping us understand how the actin cytoskeleton can go wrong in diseases and how new therapies could intervene.