Cellular machineries are ensembles of intracellular players that, together, ensure and control the function of a cell and regulate the architecture of multicellular tissues. They ensure that lipids and proteins assemble into functional units and separate the cell into different compartments to segregate cellular functions. Cell compartmentation is mediated by positioning cellular organelles at discrete locations and targeting of specific proteins and lipids. Proteins synthesis in a specific cellular locale requires trafficking of mRNA and all of these processes are mediated by vesicular and non-vesicular transport that involve an extensive network of cytoskeletal elements. When cells are ready to divide and progress through mitosis, many cellular processes are reorganized to ensure the assembly of a mitotic spindle for an accurate partitioning of chromosomes. Specific checkpoints are placed in order to prevent delivery of damaged goods to the daughter cells; trafficking of proteins and lipids is controlled to ensure there is enough membrane for cytokinesis, and that the cell divides at the right time and place. While migrating or assembling into organized epithelium, cells also have to relocate specific molecular machineries to modulate adhesion and control their cytoskeletal architecture.
We have come a long way in our understanding of various parts of the cellular machineries and their impact on cellular behavior and tissue organization, but there are still major challenges that remain unaddressed. The timing, the quantity, and the location of cellular events is placed under the control of numerous players and pathways. Teasing apart the mechanism of a cellular event whether it is protein, mRNA transport or vesicle transport; lipid and protein synthesis and their degradation; cytoskeleton assembly and organelle transport therefore requires teamwork.
The conference on cellular machineries brings together leaders in life sciences who use a variety of approaches to addresses the basic principles of how a cell works, and how this affects the function and physiology of tissues and whole organisms.