Imaging ONEWORLD - 'Discerning how actin regulatory proteins give rise to filopodia using multi-channel timelapse imaging and quantification' - Dr Jenny Gallop
21 June 2021
This week will feature Dr Jenny Gallop, The University of Cambridge
Scientific Organisers: Stefanie Reichelt, Alex Sossick, Nick Barry, Alessandro Esposito and Kirti Prakash
The meeting will begin at 1pm BST.
As part of the 'Imaging ONEWORLD' series, the focus of these lectures is on microscopy and image analysis methods and how to apply these to your research. Almost all aspects of imaging such as sample preparation, labelling strategies, experimental workflows, ‘how-to’ image and analyse, as well as facilitating collaborations and inspiring new scientific ideas will be covered. Speakers will be available for questions and answers. The organisers, CRUK CI core facility staff, Gurdon Institute, MRC-LMB, MRC Cancer Unit and NPL will be able to continue the discussion and provide advice on your imaging projects.
Dr Jenny Gallop
Jenny Gallop is a Wellcome Senior Research Fellow at the Gurdon Institute and Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge. She started out as a biochemist and structural biologist during her PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, where she worked on how BAR domain proteins generate membrane curvature. Gaining an EMBO fellowship in 2006, she moved towards cell biology and development, working on the actin cytoskeleton in her postdoc with Marc Kirschner and learning microscopy from Jennifer Waters in the Nikon Imaging Facility at Harvard Medical School. Jenny set up her lab in 2011 with a Wellcome Career Development Fellowship and an ERC Starting Grant to work on the mechanisms of filopodia formation and actin regulation by phosphoinositide lipids. She was awarded her Senior Research Fellowship and made a faculty member of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge in 2020. Her lab integrates data from a range of microscopical techniques to understand filopodia and actin regulation in vitro and in vivo, including total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching and quantitative image analysis.
The actin cytoskeleton provides a dynamic network of filaments that are arranged in different ways to help bring about cell movement and connections between cells. We work on filopodia, which are finger-like actin-rich projections from cells that are important in many cell biological processes: synapse formation and infection being two examples. A key open question in understanding filopodia asks: how do extracellular and intracellular signals lead to their initiation, growth and suppression? We have combined a cell-free system of filopodia-like structure assembly with high resolution imaging of filopodia in Xenopus neurons and developing Drosophila embryos to dissect the molecular mechanisms involved. We see a marked heterogeneity in the actin regulatory proteins employed at filopodia tips, which we propose leads to a robustness and flexibility in how filopodia are made. I will describe how we established and adapted our microscopy and image analysis pipelines to progress through each question, to work out how to attain answers for these narrow and transient cellular structures.