The College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin

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Martin Poenie
Associate Professor in Molecular Biosciences

Main Office: PAT 543C
Phone: 471-5598
Alt. Phone: 471-3503

Mailing Address
The University of Texas at Austin - ICMB
1 University Station C1000
2401 Speedway
Austin ,TX 78712-1095

Martin Poenie

Research Summary

We are interested in the cell biology of T cells and how they carry out their effector functions. In particular we are want to know how signaling events lead to reorganization of the T cell cytoskeleton and translocation of the microtubule organizing center (MTOC) to the site where T cells make contact with an antigenic target cell. This contact site is remodeled into a specialized junction known as the immunological synapse due to signals that are generated when a T cell makes contact with its target. As part of this remodeling event dynein, a microtubule motor protein, becomes anchored at the synapse. Dynein then serves to pull microtubules and the MTOC towards the synapse. Recently we developed modulated polarization microscopy, an instrument that allows us to visualize the cytoskeleton in real time. We have used this instrument together with three dimensional immunofluorescence microscopy to show how microtubules associate with the synapse. Our current effort is to understand how T cell signaling causes a complex of proteins that include dynein to relocate to the synapse.



Bio Sci students