Cells are highly dynamic and exhibit a wide range of fascinating motilities powered by the actin cytoskeleton, ranging from directed migration to a chemical stimulus to the separation of two daughter cells following mitosis. A combination of myosin motor activity and actin dynamics power these movements. The Titus lab focuses on the diverse roles of the myosin superfamily in cellular motility, processes that include filopodia formation, evolution of myosin function and structural and biochemical studies of myosins and their finding partners.
The main focus of our work is in a subgroup of myosins that have a MyTH-FERM domain that have important roles in the formation and function of membrane projections filled with parallel bundles of actin: filopodia, microvilli and stereocilia. Using the model system the social amoeba Dictyostelium, we are asking how MyTH-FERM myosins have evolved to cooperate with actin regulators to generate filopodia that cells use to interact with their environment.
Thank you to our funding partners!