You have reached the Lénárt Lab at the Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.

We are a molecular cell biology lab interested in cytoskeletal structure, dynamics and function. We are using biochemical and molecular biology tools in combination with quantitative live cell imaging and image analysis to mechanistically understand cellular functions at the molecular level.

Currently, we are specifically focusing on the meiotic divisions of oocytes. These divisions produce the fertilizable egg and are thus essential for the sexual reproduction of all animal species. Despite this fact, relatively little is known about the meiotic divisions that occur in the exceptionally large oocyte and are extremely asymmetric giving rise to the small, non-viable polar bodies and the mature egg. We are using starfish oocytes as a model system that are easy to obtain in large quantities and are well suited for live imaging. Studies in this organism led us to the discovery of a novel mechanism of actin-driven intracellular transport that is required for chromosome congression in the large oocyte. Read more...