Research Summary

Nanoscopic imaging with DNA for network level understanding of cytoskeletal alterations during aging

The cytoskeleton is an important cellular component, participating in various fundamental cellular functions. It acts as scaffold to maintain cell shape and internal organization. In addition, cytoskeleton plays crucial role in organelle transport, cell division, cell-cell communication, cell signaling, and ultimately defining cell fate. Due to their essential roles in various cellular processes, the cytoskeleton has been linked to the process of aging and progression of age related diseases. However, majority of the current studies were performed to elucidate the role of a single or a very small group of cytoskeleton components during aging process. It should be noted that along with three major cytoskeleton building blocks, microtubule, actin filaments and intermediate filaments, there are a large number of auxiliary proteins that control their dynamics, assembly/disassembly, homotypical/heterotypical organization, and ability to cross-link with various organelles. Therefore, despite these progresses, a fundamental gap remains between our understanding of individual cytoskeleton component and the network level view of how different cytoskeleton components function collectively to maintain normal function and are altered during aging. My goal is to utilize an innovative DNA based super-resolution imaging technique with high multiplexing power (>100×) for in situ cytoskeleton network mapping to elucidate the molecular and structural basis of cytoskeleton alteration during aging.

Figure Legend: Highly multiplexed and nanoscopic imaging with DNA