We are interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing the assembly,
disassembly, and stability of actin at cell-cell contacts.
The actin cytoskeleton participates in cell-cell adhesion and maintenance
of epithelial and endothelial barrier in many fundamental ways. Actin organizes plasma membrane domains
by clustering membrane adhesion molecules. In addition, it provides anchorage of cell-cell
adhesion molecules to the underlying cytoplasmic actin network. Moreover, actin contributes
to mechano-transduction at sites of cell-cell contacts to strengthen adhesion. Ultimately, the actin cytoskeleton
determines the efficacy of cell-cell adhesion and the nature of intercellular interactions. Therefore,
elucidating the mechanism of actin-regulation at cell-cell adhesive contacts is fundamental to the understanding of epithelial
and endothelial cell behaviors and function.