Final Report Summary - MOTORS (On the move: Motor-cargo and motor-microtubule interactions studied with quantitative, high spatio-temporal resolution microscopy in vivo)
Intracellular transport is an essential cellular process required to maintain cell homeostasis. A slowing or stoppage of intracellular transport due to accumulation of obstacles along microtubules has been linked to multiple diseases, especially those of the nervous system. Understanding the mechanisms by which motor proteins overcome obstacles can give important clues as to how these mechanisms break down in disease states. We have been developing the technical advances necessary to visualize and quantitatively investigate 3D transport processes in living cells. Combining cutting-edge techniques such as single particle tracking and super-resolution microscopy, we have been able to visualize the 3D transport of vesicles along and around individual microtubules in the cellular context. These advances have allowed us to start determining the mechanisms that motor proteins use to avoid and circumvent roadblocks, therefore effectively transporting their vesicles in the crowded cellular environment.