Which physical principles govern life regulation at the level of subcellular, membrane-enclosed nanosystems, such as transport vesicles and organelles? How do they achieve controlled movements across the cell? Which is the structural and functional organization of their surface and lumen? This is only a small subset of key open questions still open within living matter.
The project “CAPTUR3D: Capturing the Physics of Life on 3D-Trafficking subcellular Nanosystems“, headed by Francesco Cardarelli and awarded 2 million euros by the European Union in the last round of the ERC Consolidator Grant, is aimed at addressing these lingering issues.
An excitation light-beam will be sent in a periodic orbit around the nanosystem of interest and used to localize its position with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. State-of-the-art imaging technologies and analytical tools will be made available, for the first time, along the trajectory of a moving, nanoscopic reference system .Such a privileged observation point will push biophysical investigations to a new level. The insulin granule, the nanosystem responsible for the regulation of glucose levels in the blood, is selected as paradigmatic case study.
CAPTUR3D will be launched in March 2021 and developed at the NEST Laboratory, also in collaboration with Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Pisana.