Actin and microtubule cytoskeleton

This is the second Jacques Monod Conference focussing on the latest research on different types of cytoskeleton. Actin filaments and microtubules are the major cytoskeletal polymers in eukaryotic cells. As non-equilibrium polymers, they self-assemble and disassemble in a regulated and coordinated fashion and self-organise into dynamic higher order structures with complex functionalities in essential processes, such as cell polarisation, cell migration, cell division, and other morphogenetic processes important for cell differentiation. In bacteria, distantly related cytoskeletal proteins also coordinate cellular functions requiring the action of filaments. How complex functionalities emerge from the collective behaviour of the components of the cytoskeleton is a major open question in biology. Answering this important question will require the combined expertise from several disciplines. Several recent methodological developments in structural biology (cryo-EM, single particle analysis, tomography), biophysics (single molecule and super-resolution imaging) and cell biology (optogenetics and genome editing) have tremendously accelerated progress in several areas of actin and microtubule cytoskeleton research. At this conference, a multi-scale view of the cytoskeleton will be presented, including latest results on integrated actin/microtubule functions, cytoskeleton-membrane/boundary interactions and diversity of cytoskeletal arrangements between different cell types and cells in different species.