Much research in stem cell and developmental biology relies upon culturing cells on 2D surfaces. Indeed, the recent advance that Yap/Taz are mechano-regulators of the Hippo pathway was carried out in 2D culture systems. However, cell behaviour in 2D varies from that in the 3D in vivo environment. To understand stem cell behaviour and develop regenerative therapies, we need to observe cells in 3D. This ambitious project aims to evaluate how mechano-regulation of the co-transcriptional effectors Yap/Taz is controlled in vivo-like 3D systems. Ultimately, manipulation of these signals in defined 3D systems will enable us to effectively direct MSC differentiation.
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Schroeder & Hadler (2012) Regulation of Hippo pathway by cell architecture and mechanical signals. Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology 23: 803-11.
Walters & Gentleman (2015) Evolving insights in cell–matrix interactions: Elucidating how non-soluble properties of the extracellular niche direct stem cell fate. Acta Biomaterilia 11:3-16.
Wada et al. (2011) Hippo pathway regulation by cell morphology and stress fibers. Development 138: 3907-14.