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Event Time
4 p.m.
Zoom Meeting

"Sweet Tension: The Unexpected Role of Cell Glycocalyx in Mechanobiology" with Jennifer Curtis, Georgia Institute of Technology (Online Seminar)


TitleSweet Tension: The Unexpected Role of Cell Glycocalyx in Mechanobiology

SpeakerJennifer Curtis, Georgia Institute of Technology

Hosted byArpita Upadhyaya


Recent studies of cell adhesion identify the cell glycocalyx as a significant but underappreciated element in the regulation of adhesive bonds. This polymer brush-like structure on the surface of cells, the glycocalyx is comprised of large polysaccharides whose bulky presence both sterically and mechanically interferes with the formation and maintenance of adhesive molecular bonds. Hyaluronan-rich glycocalyx is of particular interest because of its large size as well as its strong correlation with physiological events that involve dynamic mediation of cell adhesion, whether embryogenesis, wound healing or pathological processes like cancer metastasis. In this talk, we will explore how a biomimetic glycocalyx comprised of a tunable, hyaluronan synthase-generated polymer brush provides direct experimental evidence that hyaluronan glycocalyx expressed in tight spaces such as the cell-substratum, can exert forces large enough to significantly stress or even break adhesive bonds and deform the cell.   The work also establishes that cells can navigate through and compress a microns-thick glycocalyx to establish adhesive bonds. Theoretical estimates of the forces exerted by the compressed hyaluronan polymer brush provide estimates of the tension imposed on integrin-fibronectin bonds to be in the range of 0.1-50 pN, the ideal range to impact cell mechanosensing.  This work is instrumental in establishing a more complete understanding of the mechanical interactions between receptor-ligand bonds and hyaluronan-rich glycocalyx. 

Seminars start at 4:00 pm and refreshments served at 3:45 pm. All seminars are held in the Conference Room (1116) of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) Building, unless otherwise noted.


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