Adai Colom

Membrane remodelling and mechanical properties over the immunological synapse and viral infection
Biofisika Institute (Spain)


Adai Colom is a PI researcher interested in membrane biophysics. Over the past years, his research activities have been focused mostly on the field of cell membrane biophysics and cell trafficking. He finished his doctoral thesis on Structural Biology at the Institut Curie (Paris) and Aix-Marseille University (Marseille) in France, under the supervision of Dr.Simon Scheuring, where he developed one of the first High-Speed Atomic Force Microscopes ( HS-AFM) with an optical setup. Later he moved to the University of Geneva under Dr. Aurélien Roux, where he did his postdoc in cell trafficking and membrane mechanics. There, Adai together with other groups from NCCR developed a new method to measure lipid membrane tension. Recently, he has been award with Ikerbasque and Ramon y Cajal Fellow and set up his lab in Biofisika institute (Bilbao, Spain).


About his talk: Membrane remodelling and mechanical properties over the immunological
synapse and viral infection

Organelles and cells are delimited by a lipid bilayer, which is highly deformable, a property essential to many cell processes such as motility, endocytosis, cell division. During these deformations, lipid membranes experience stretch causing membrane tension. Membrane tension is therefore a main regulator of the cell processes that remodel membranes, albeit, it is difficult to measure in vivo. FliptR (for Fluorescent LIPid Tension Reporter) can monitor changes of membrane tension by changing its fluorescence lifetime as a function of the twist between its fluorescent groups, allowing for an easy quantification of membrane tension by fast fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy Fast-FLIM.

Given that FliptR tremendously facilitates membrane tension measurements, specially in areas where the clasical methods doesn’t have access, we measured plasmatic membrane tension gradient in different cell process, as cell migration, cell polarization, inmunological synapse,cell adhesion, observing an inverse correlation between vinculin protein concentration and membrane tension over cell adhesion and a direct correlation with the actin expression. In addition, inside the cell, we measured a local increase on mithochondria membrane tension during its fission, and the correlation with the presence of other proteins.