About the Biophysical Society’s International Travel Award
Dr Balakrishnan Kannan was awarded 2009 International Travel Award at the 53rd Annual meeting of the Biophysical Society held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA during Feb 28–March 4, 2009 to present the work “Real-time observation of actin polymerization regulated by the gelsolin-family of proteins”. The meeting consisted of symposia, workshops, minisymposia, platform & poster sessions and the national lecture by Prof Dorothy Kern. The meeting had more than 6000 attendees, the largest gathering of Biophysicists around the world.
Balakrishnan Kannan, Qing Ma and Robert C. Robinson
Cell motility is governed by the concerted assembly and disassembly of actin filaments. Actin filament1 length is regulated by a variety of actin-modifying proteins such as gelsolin, vilin and adseverin. To understand the mechanism of cell movement in health and disease, a detailed understanding of the self-assembly of actin monomers into filaments and its regulation by the actin-modifying proteins is required. Conventional bulk measurements yield ensemble-averaged data which do not allow an understanding of the process at the single molecule level. Total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy coupled with fluorescence spectroscopy measurements provide a means to follow the actin dynamics with single molecule sensitivity. In the present work, in vitro real-time TIRF assays of actin polymerization in the presence of full length and truncated actin-regulating proteins such as gelsolin, vilin and adseverin will be presented. Use of calcium ions as a switch to activate gelsolin2,3, is further corroborated in the time-lapse movies.
1 T. D. Pollard, Annu. Rev. Biophys. Biomol. Struct. 2007. 36:451-477
2 R.C. Robinson et al, Science 1999. 286: 1939-1942
3 K. Narayan et al, Febs Lett. 2003. 552:82-85