Mechanobiology of Disease: The Final Day

By now we had come to eleventh and final session of the thematic meeting.

After the coffee break, Daniela Rhodes made way to the stage to discuss about Telomerase and G-quadruplexes. G-quadruplexes are nucleic acid structures with G tetrads stacked one over the other, usually stabilized by a central cation. CLEM imaging techniques and its utility were also discussed in this talk.

Next, Ashok Venkitaraman gave a talk on Cancer Suppression and the Mechanics of Nucleoprotein Assemblies in DNA Recombination. In this very interesting talk, details about RAD51-DNA interactions were discussed. The discussions helped to rationalize the paradoxical ability of BRC repeats on the BRCA2 tumour suppressor to either stabilize or inhibit filament formation at different steps during homologous recombination.

Shee Mei Loke soon followed, to discuss the Near Atomic Resolution CryoEM Structure of the Thermally Stable Zika Virus. By analyzing the CryoEM structure, it was observed that the Zika virus particle was structurally stable even when incubated at 40oC, in sharp contrast to the less thermally stable Dengue virus particle! The infectivity was also greater for Zika at higher temperatures when compared to Dengue. CryoEM shed light on the more compact surface of the virus and presented it to be novel target for future therapeutics.

Zeinab Jahed soon followed  to enlighten the audience on the Molecular Mechanisms of Mechanotransduction through LINC Complexes. In this talk, it was revealed that mutations in LINC complexes were linked to inherited cardiomyopathy, a major cause of heart disease, and Emery-Driefuss muscular dystrophy, a disorder associated with cardiomyopathy and cardiac conduction defect. Z-Scan Fluorescence Fluctuation Spectroscopy was used to show that specific, point mutations in components of the LINC complex can destabilize the complex under mechanical forces, or alter the oligomer state of the complex.

Radu Tanasa concluded Session 11 with Mechanics of Embryonic Zebrafish Revealed by Magnetically Applied Local Forces. This talk discussed about the use of electromegnatic tweezers to apply forces at the nanoNewton range. The resultant three-dimensional bead movement and the shapes of surrounding cells were spatially (submicron) and temporally (seconds) resolved by a light sheet fluorescence microscope (SPIM). Attendees saw that mechanical properties, cell migration and morphogenesis were linked and impact each other, even at this simple early stage of embryonic.

At the end of the thematic meeting, my colleagues and I went to pick up our posters from the boards only to find them nicely rolled into our poster tubes! At this point of time I would like to thank the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI) wet lab core who helped to organize the poster session.  The whole thematic meeting had been a fruitful experience for me and I would like to thank the Biophysical Society for organizing a wonderful meeting!


Please do not forget that there is the 61st Annual Meeting by the Biophysical Society next February! I will be looking forward to meeting more friends and colleagues over there!






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