Ben O'Shaughnessy

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Animals and fungi assemble a contractile ring of actin filaments and the motor protein myosin to separate into individual daughter cells during cytokinesis. We used fluorescence microscopy of live fission yeast cells to observe that membrane-bound nodes containing myosin were broadly distributed around the cell equator and assembled into a contractile ring(More)
Formin FH2 domains associate processively with actin-filament barbed ends and modify their rate of growth. We modeled how the elongation rate depends on the concentrations of profilin and actin for four different formins. We assume that (1) FH2 domains are in rapid equilibrium among conformations that block or allow actin addition and that (2)(More)
Polymerization of actin proteins into dynamic structures is essential to eukaryotic cell life, motivating many in vitro experiments measuring polymerization kinetics of individual filaments. Here, we model these kinetics, accounting for all relevant steps revealed by experiment: polymerization, depolymerization, random ATP hydrolysis, and release of(More)
Cytokinesis involves constriction of a contractile actomyosin ring. The mechanisms generating ring tension and setting the constriction rate remain unknown because the organization of the ring is poorly characterized, its tension was rarely measured, and constriction is coupled to other processes. To isolate ring mechanisms, we studied fission yeast(More)
Stress fibers are cellular contractile actomyosin machines central to wound healing, shear stress response, and other processes. Contraction mechanisms have been difficult to establish because stress fibers in cultured cells typically exert isometric tension and present little kinetic activity. In a recent study, living cell stress fibers were severed with(More)
Almost all known intracellular fusion reactions are driven by formation of trans-SNARE complexes through pairing of vesicle-associated v-SNAREs with complementary t-SNAREs on target membranes. However, the number of SNARE complexes required for fusion is unknown, and there is controversy about whether additional proteins are required to explain the fast(More)
Cells assemble a variety of bundled actomyosin structures in the cytoskeleton for activities such as cell-shape regulation, force production, and cytokinesis. Although these linear structures exhibit varied architecture, two common organizational themes are a punctate distribution of myosin II and distinct patterns of actin polarity. The mechanisms that(More)
During cytokinesis, fission yeast and other fungi and bacteria grow a septum that divides the cell in two. In fission yeast closure of the circular septum hole by the β-glucan synthases (Bgs) and other glucan synthases in the plasma membrane is tightly coupled to constriction of an actomyosin contractile ring attached to the membrane. It is unknown how(More)
The pathway to membrane fusion in synthetic and biological systems is thought to pass through hemifusion, in which the outer leaflets are fused while the inner leaflets engage in a hemifusion diaphragm (HD). Fusion has been proposed to be completed by lysis of the expanded HD that matures from a localized stalklike initial connection. However, the process(More)
Cytoskeletal actin assemblies transmit mechanical stresses that molecular sensors transduce into biochemical signals to trigger cytoskeletal remodeling and other downstream events. How mechanical and biochemical signaling cooperate to orchestrate complex remodeling tasks has not been elucidated. Here, we studied remodeling of contractile actomyosin stress(More)