Nathalie Q. Balaban

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Mechanical forces play a major role in the regulation of cell adhesion and cytoskeletal organization. In order to explore the molecular mechanism underlying this regulation, we have investigated the relationship between local force applied by the cell to the substrate and the assembly of focal adhesions. A novel approach was developed for real-time,(More)
A fraction of a genetically homogeneous microbial population may survive exposure to stress such as antibiotic treatment. Unlike resistant mutants, cells regrown from such persistent bacteria remain sensitive to the antibiotic. We investigated the persistence of single cells of Escherichia coli with the use of microfluidic devices. Persistence was linked to(More)
The transition of cell-matrix adhesions from the initial punctate focal complexes into the mature elongated form, known as focal contacts, requires GTPase Rho activity. In particular, activation of myosin II-driven contractility by a Rho target known as Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) was shown to be essential for focal contact formation. To dissect the(More)
The persistence phenotype is an epigenetic trait exhibited by a subpopulation of bacteria, characterized by slow growth coupled with an ability to survive antibiotic treatment. The phenotype is acquired via a spontaneous, reversible switch between normal and persister cells. These observations suggest that clonal bacterial populations may use persister(More)
The conversion of physical signals, such as contractile forces or external mechanical perturbations, into chemical signaling events is a fundamental cellular process that occurs at cell-extracellular matrix contacts, known as focal adhesions. At these sites, transmembrane integrin receptors are associated via their cytoplasmic domains with the actin(More)
The transition of cell–matrix adhesions from the initial punctate focal complexes into the mature elongated form, known as focal contacts, requires GTPase Rho activity. In particular, activation of myosin II–driven contractility by a Rho target known as Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) was shown to be essential for focal contact formation. To dissect the(More)
While the DNA sequence is largely responsible for transmitting phenotypic traits over evolutionary time, organisms are also considerably affected by phenotypic variations that persist for more than one generation, with no direct change in the organisms' DNA sequence. In contrast to genetic variation, which is passed on over many generations, the phenotypic(More)
Forces exerted by stationary cells have been investigated on the level of single focal adhesions by combining elastic substrates, fluorescence labeling of focal adhesions, and the assumption of localized force when solving the inverse problem of linear elasticity theory. Data simulation confirms that the inverse problem is ill-posed in the presence of noise(More)
When microorganisms are exposed to lethal agents, the initial exponential decay in survival is typically followed by a slower decrease. This tailing of the survival curve is due to persister cells that have differentiated into phenotypes with reduced sensitivity to the lethal agent. We review the environmental factors that have been shown to trigger such(More)
In the face of antibiotics, bacterial populations avoid extinction by harboring a subpopulation of dormant cells that are largely drug insensitive. This phenomenon, termed "persistence," is a major obstacle for the treatment of a number of infectious diseases. The mechanism that generates both actively growing as well as dormant cells within a genetically(More)