Magnetic actuation

Printer-friendly version

Magnetic control of the spatial positioning of signaling proteins

Recent evidence highlights that signaling proteins are not randomly distributed in the cell, but rather localized on cell membranes, intracellular organelles, and in the cytoplasm. This creates spatial heterogeneity and gradient of enzymatic activity that may play a decisive role in processes necessary for cell survival and cell-fate decision. To obtain useful information regarding the general principles of intracellular signaling networks, we are developing techniques related to the magnetic control of the spatial positioning of signaling proteins in order to modify the biochemical microenvironment of cells.

Magnetic nanoparticles conjugated to proteins are used to generate concentration gradient and trigger signaling pathways.Superparamagnetic and fluorescent bioconjugated nanoparticles have been selected to fulfill two conditions: (i) their ability to move under magnetic forces throughout viscous cell cytoplasm with second time-scale and (ii) the need for versatile and robust protein-labeling strategy with controlled stoichiometry.

For instance, we use this approach to control microtubule nucleation and dynamics in space and in time.