Motor proteins and intracellular organisation

The Roberts lab will be joining the Dunn School in April 2023.

We are investigating the mechanisms by which motor proteins generate movement and spatial organisation within living cells. We are also interested in how defects in these mechanisms cause human pathologies. To address these topics, our work combines structural biology, cell biology, and single-molecule approaches.

(A) Transport system within cilia, (B) Structure of dynein-2

Approaches in the laboratory

A main focus is on dynein and kinesin, families of microtubule-based motors that use ATP hydrolysis to transport cargoes and signalling molecules within the cell interior. Dynein and kinesin also have critical roles in assembling larger cellular structures, such as the mitotic spindle, cilia and flagella. Our current goals are to understand how dynein and kinesin work as individual motors, how they cooperate to form bidirectional transport systems, and how they selectively attach to cargoes. We are studying these questions using transport within cilia and flagella as a biomedically important model. Defective transport in cilia causes a variety of human disorders associated with vision impairment, skeletal abnormalities, cystic kidneys, and infertility, among other conditions. Core techniques in our research are cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), in vitro reconstitution, cell biology, and single-molecule fluorescence microscopy.

The Roberts lab is accepting applications from prospective PhD students via the Dunn School’s PhD programme in Molecular Cell Biology in Health and Disease.

 

Relevant Publications

Webb S, Mukhopadhyay AG, Roberts AJ.
2020

Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology

Toropova K, Zalyte R, Mukhopadhyay AG, Mladenov M, Carter AP, Roberts AJ.
2019

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 26(9):823-829

Toropova K, Zalyte R, Mukhopadhyay AG, Mladenov M, Carter AP, Roberts AJ.
2017

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 24(5):461-468.

Anthony Roberts
anthony.roberts@bbk.ac.uk

Research Areas