Using Optical Tweezers to Characterize Physical Tethers at Membrane Contact Sites: Grab It, Pull It, Set It Free?
Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Copyright © 2016 Sparkes. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Compartmentalisation is a defining feature of eukaryotic life. Effective communication between organelles is essential for cell maintenance, growth and response to external stimuli. Static snapshots provided through ultrastructural studies of preserved tissue highlight that certain organelles are in intimate contact at membrane contact sites (MCSs), also referred to as inter-organellar tethering sites. However, live cell imaging indicates that these interactions are not necessarily stable with organelles frequently “colliding,” moving in unison and then separating. This dramatic intracellular “waltz” between organelles with ever changing partners (organelles) indicates that the molecular factors controlling MCSs are highly regulated. Key questions therefore relate to defining which organelles physically interact, deciphering the molecular components that control MCS formation, and ultimately deciphering the specific functional role that the interaction provides to the cell (Figure 1).
Sparkes is funded by the Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2015-106) and the Science and Technology Funding Council (PM-1216), and by the BBSRC (BB/I006184/2) for some of the work reported herein. I would like to thank Prof Botchway and Dr Ward for insightful discussions regarding optical tweezers. Due to space restrictions, I would like to apologize to those whose work is not included herein.
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Vol. 4, pp. 22 -
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