Mukund Thattai

NCBS | Group Leader

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  • Basic Research

    Cell Polarity, homeostasis

Project Description

How does cellular complexity emerge from microscopic disorder? As a physicist practicing biology, I am interested in how cells are organised and function. I study the dynamic endomembrane organelles of eukaryotic cells, and the network of vesicles that traffic cargo between them. I wish to understand how local molecular interactions generate the global membrane traffic network.

What genomic variations drive the diversity of membrane traffic across species?
How do organelles maintain their identity despite constant molecular exchange?
How do cells use membrane traffic to regulate distributed biochemical activities?

I combine eukaryotic genomics, mathematical models, and cell-biological experiments to address these issues. I use eukaryotic cellular and genomic diversity as sources of interesting new systems and questions. I develop rigorous tools to convert cell-biological hypotheses into mathematical models, in collaboration with computer scientists. I frame predictions in terms of specific molecules and phenotypes, and test these in collaboration with experimental cell biologists.

Fig.: We use the membrane traffic system as a window to understand the mechanism and evolution of complex cellular traits.

  • Collection of Lipid Center relevant Publications

    Jaiman A and Thattai M. Algorithmic biosynthesis of eukaryotic glycans. 2018, bioRxiv:p.440792. [Preprint]

    Gupta A, Shukla A, Srivas M and Thattai M. SMT Solving for Vesicle Traffic Systems in Cells. 2018, arXiv:1804.05414. [Preprint]

    Sathe M, Muthukrishnan G, Rae J, Disanza A, Thattai M, Scita G, Parton RG, Mayor S. Small GTPases and BAR domain proteins regulate branched actin polymerisation for clathrin and dynamin-independent endocytosis. Nat Commun. 2018 May 9;9(1):1835

    Chib S, Das S, Venkatesan S, Seshasayee ASN and Thattai M. Using stochastic cell division and death to probe minimal units of cellular replication. New J Phys. 2018, 20: 035004.

    Thattai M. Organelle acidification: an ancient cellular leak detector. BMC Biol. 2017 Jun 26;15(1):51

    Shukla A, Bhattacharyya A, Kuppusamy L, Srivas M, Thattai M. Discovering vesicle traffic network constraints by model checking. PLoS One. 2017 Jul 6;12(7):e0180692

    Mani S, Thattai M. Stacking the odds for Golgi cisternal maturation. Elife. 2016 Aug 19;5. pii: e16231

    Dey G, Thattai M, Baum B. On the Archaeal Origins of Eukaryotes and the Challenges of Inferring Phenotype from Genotype. Trends Cell Biol. 2016 Jul;26(7):476-485

    Purkanti R, Thattai M. Ancient dynamin segments capture early stages of host-mitochondrial integration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Mar 3;112(9):2800-5