Emeritus Group: Vic Small

Picture of the Group Leader Vic Small

Mechanisms underlying cell migration

  • It moves, it’s alive! In the micro-cosmos of our body tissues movement is likewise vital to life- and can also contribute to death! Organ development, wound repair and immune defense all rely on the movement of single cells or cell groups. And in metastasis, renegade cells that escape from primary tumours find their way, by migration, to propagate in multiple sites elsewhere. Discovering how cells move is therefore important for understanding normal and pathological processes, with perspectives of bringing unwanted events under control. We already know that cell movement relies on the turnover of the protein filament systems comprising the so-called “cytoskeleton”. Our research is directed towards understanding the structural basis of cytoskeleton turnover and the underlying molecular mechanisms. To this end we are combining molecular biology techniques with live cell imaging technologies and electron microscopy, including electron tomography for 3D imaging of cytoskeleton networks.

  • For an Introduction to the cytoskeleton and cell motility see our Video Tour website

Selected Publications

Mueller, J., Pfanzelter, J., Winkler, C., Narita, A., Le Clainche, C., Nemethova, M., Carlier, MF., Maeda, Y., Welch, MD., Ohkawa, T., Schmeiser, C., Resch, GP., Small, JV. (2014). Electron tomography and simulation of baculovirus actin comet tails support a tethered filament model of pathogen propulsion. PLoS Biol. 12(1):e1001765 (abstract)
Vinzenz, M., Nemethova, M., Schur, F., Mueller, J., Narita, A., Urban, E., Winkler, C., Schmeiser, C., Koestler, SA., Rottner, K., Resch, GP., Maeda, Y., Small, JV. (2012). Actin branching in the initiation and maintenance of lamellipodia. J Cell Sci. 125(Pt 11):2775-85 (abstract)
Breitsprecher, D., Kiesewetter, AK., Linkner, J., Vinzenz, M., Stradal, TE., Small, JV., Curth, U., Dickinson, RB., Faix, J. (2011). Molecular mechanism of Ena/VASP-mediated actin-filament elongation. EMBO J. 30(3):456-67 (abstract)
Breitsprecher, D., Koestler, SA., Chizhov, I., Nemethova, M., Mueller, J., Goode, BL., Small, JV., Rottner, K., Faix, J. (2011). Cofilin cooperates with fascin to disassemble filopodial actin filaments. J Cell Sci. 124(Pt 19):3305-18 (abstract)
Oelkers, JM., Vinzenz, M., Nemethova, M., Jacob, S., Lai, FP., Block, J., Szczodrak, M., Kerkhoff, E., Backert, S., Schlüter, K., Stradal, TE., Small, JV., Koestler, SA., Rottner, K. (2011). Microtubules as platforms for assaying actin polymerization in vivo. PLoS One. 6(5):e19931 (abstract)
Small, J.V., Winkler, C., Vinzenz, M. and Schmeiser, S (2011). Reply: Visualizing branched actin filaments in lamellipodia by electron tomography Nature Cell Biology. doi:10.1038/ncb2322
Small, JV. (2010). Dicing with dogma: de-branching the lamellipodium. Trends Cell Biol. 20(11):628-33 (abstract)
Small, J.V. and Rottner, K.R (2010). Elementary Cellular Processes Driven by Actin Assembly: Lamellipodia and Filopodia In “Actin-based Motility” Ed by M.F. Carlier, Springer Science. :pp 3-33
Urban, E., Jacob, S., Nemethova, M., Resch, GP., Small, JV. (2010). Electron tomography reveals unbranched networks of actin filaments in lamellipodia. Nat Cell Biol. 12(5):429-35 (abstract)

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