Samara Reck-Peterson

Department of Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School
LHRRB Building, Room 301c
240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

tel: (617) 432-7178; fax: (617) 432-7193

Research Interests:

The Reck-Peterson lab is broadly interested in the regulated movements of intracellular components, which allow cells to move, divide, communicate with neighboring cells, and maintain cellular homeostasis. Most eukaryotic cells are too large to rely on diffusion for these movements. Cells use molecular motors to transport intracellular components quickly in a manner that can be regulated in time and space. 

Intracellular transport occurs along actin and microtubule tracks and is driven by myosins (actin-based motors) and dyneins and kinesins (microtubule-based motors). We focus on microtubule-based intracellular transport. Microtubules, which are larger and more rigid than actin filaments, are typically used for long distance, directed transport.

All eukaryotic cells use motors for transport. In humans, longer cells, such as neurons, are more sensitive to defects in transport. For example, neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases are known to result from defects in microtubule-based transport.

We use a wide variety of experimental techniques (genetics, genomics, single molecule biophysics, biochemistry, and structural biology) and intellectual frameworks (cell biology, systems biology, synthetic biology, and biophysics) to understand the molecular basis of intracellular transport.


Selected Publications:

Huang J*, Robert A*, Leschziner L, Reck-Peterson SL. (2012) Lis1 acts as a "clutch" between the ATPase and microtubule-binding domains of the dynein motor. Cell, in press.

Redwine WB*, Hernarndez-Lopez R*, Zou S, Huang J, Reck-Peterson SL, Leschziner AE. (2012) Structural basis for microtubule binding and release by dynein. Science, in press.

Egan M, Tan K, Reck-Peterson SL. (2012) Lis1 is an initiation factor for dynein-driven organelle transport. J Cell Biol. 197: 971-982.
[Commentary on this research appeared in: J. Cell Biol. 197: 852.]

Qiu W*, Derr ND*, Goodman BS, Villa E, Wu D, Shih W, Reck-Peterson SL. (2012) Dynein achieves processive motion using both stochastic and coordinated stepping. Nat Struct Mol Biol 19: 193.
[Commentary on this research appeared in: Nature 482: 7383.]

For a complete listing of publications click here.


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