Lukas Windgasse

Investigating mechanical loading at intercellular junctions

Desmosomes are intercellular adhesion complexes that form important cellular interfaces between neighboring epithelial cells. Although the essence of desmosomes for the mechanical integrity of mammalian tissue has been recognized, their function on molecular level remains unclear.

In my project, I will investigate the molecular details of desmoplakin-mediated force transduction in epithelial cells. In particular, how the expression of distinct keratin networks affects desmoplakin mechanics. Additionally, I aim at the simultaneous analysis of desmosome and adherens junction mechanics using a FRET multiplexing approach to evaluate how externally applied forces affect the loading of
desmosomes as compared to adherens junctions.