Mechanobiology Laboratory

 

Prof. Sirio Dupont

 

We are interested in understanding how the mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM) regulate signaling pathways, gene transcription and other cellular processes, and how this is relevant for cell behavior, tissue homeostasis and disease. Our goal is to identify novel general principles in vitro, and to push their validation in vivo with the development of new animal models to study mechano-signaling in tissues. We use a multidisciplinary approach that includes custom-built compliant cell culture substrata, ECM micropatterning, cell micromanipulations, optical microscopy, molecular and cell biology techniques, transcriptional and bioinformatic analyses, proteomics, metabolomics, CRISPR/Cas9 modified cell lines, and genetically-modified mice, also thanks to multiple collaborations with colleagues in Italy and abroad. We have identified YAP/TAZ transcriptional coactivators as readers of ECM mechanical cues and mediators of their effects on cancer cell proliferation and mesenchymal stem cell differentiation, and are now developing genetic tools to study the relevance of F-actin remodeling as regulator of YAP/TAZ activity in vivo. Moreover, we got recently interested in understanding how mechanical cues, YAP/TAZ and metabolism are reciprocally regulated.