Professor Segey Plotnikov

Sergey V. Plotnikov

Associate Professor


St. George (downtown)

CSB Appointment


Research Areas

Animal Biology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Quantitative Biology /Modelling


Ph.D. Institute of Marine Biology, Vladivostok, Russia

Primary Undergraduate Department

Cell & Systems Biology

Graduate Programs

Cell & Systems Biology

Research Description

Cell migration is central in a wide range of physiological and pathological processes, including development, wound healing and cancer metastasis. In the animal, cell migration is governed by a variety of extracellular cues that control activity of specific signaling pathways and regulate cytoskeletal dynamics. These cues are diverse in nature and include biochemical gradients, mechanical forces, and gradients of extracellular matrix stiffness and topology. Although several major signaling pathways have been previously implicated as master regulators of cell migration guided by the biochemical cues, the mechanisms by which cells sense mechanical stimuli and transduce them into cellular responses, such as migration, are largely unknown.
We aim to uncover how migration of animal cells is controlled by mechanical signals form the extracellular environment. Our lab uses a multifaceted experimental approach, combining cell biology, molecular biology, and biophysics techniques with high-resolution quantitative optical microscopy to address the following specific questions: (i) unraveling molecular mechanisms that transduce physical signals experienced by cells into activity of signaling pathways, (ii) assess contribution of directed cell migration guided by physical cues to pathological conditions, (iii) understanding how mechanosensitive cellular responses are modulated by chemical guidance cues, such as spatial gradients of growth factors.

Contact Information

Office Phone: 416-978-1734
Office: RW332A
Lab: RW330
Lab Phone: 416-978-3476

Mailing Address

Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto
25 Harbord St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3G5

Visit lab’s website

Recent News

New appointments show that CSB is building and broadening

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CSB Researchers earn multiple NSERC awards

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Membrane ruffling is a mechanosensor of extracellular fluid viscosity

Pittman M, Iu E, Li K, Wang M, Chen J, Taneja N, Jo MH, Park S, Jung W, Liang L, Barman I, Ha T, Gaitanaros S, Liu J, Burnette D, Plotnikov S, Chen Y
2022, Nature Physics, 10.1038/s41567-022-01676-y

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Mechanosensitive Regulation of Fibrosis

Yang S, Plotnikov SV
2021, Cells, 10.3390/cells10050994

Force-dependent activation of actin elongation factor mDia1 protects the cytoskeleton from mechanical damage and promotes stress fiber repair

Valencia FR, Sandoval E, Du J, Iu E, Liu J, Plotnikov SV
2021, Developmental Cell, 10.1016/j.devcel.2021.11.004

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A Noisy Analog-to-Digital Converter Connects Cytosolic Calcium Bursts to Transcription Factor Nuclear Localization Pulses in Yeast.

Hsu IS, Strome B, Plotnikov S, Moses AM
2019, G3, 9, 561-570, 30573469

A mechano-signalling network linking microtubules, myosin IIA filaments and integrin-based adhesions

Rafiq NBM, Nishimura Y, Plotnikov SV, Thiagarajan V, Zhang Z, Shi S, Natarajan M, Viasnoff V, Kanchanawong P, Jones GE, Bershadsky AD
2019, Nature Materials, 10.1038/s41563-019-0371-y

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Coupling of Human Rhodopsin to a Yeast Signaling Pathway Enables Characterization of Mutations Associated with Retinal Disease

Scott BM, Chen SK, Bhattacharyya N, Moalim AY, Plotnikov SV, Heon E, Peisajovich SG, Chang BSW
2018, Genetics, 10.1534/genetics.118.301733

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Inverted formin 2 in focal adhesions promotes dorsal stress fiber and fibrillar adhesion formation to drive extracellular matrix assembly

Skau CT, Plotnikov SV, Doyle AD, Waterman CM
2015, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 25918420

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Rac1-dependent phosphorylation and focal adhesion recruitment of myosin IIA regulates migration and mechanosensing

Pasapera AM, Plotnikov SV, Fischer RS, Case LB, Egelhoff TT, Waterman CM
2015, Current biology : CB, 25, 175-86, 25544611

High-resolution traction force microscopy

Plotnikov SV, Sabass B, Schwarz US, Waterman CM
2014, Methods in cell biology, 123, 367-94, 24974038

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Guiding cell migration by tugging

Plotnikov SV, Waterman CM
2013, Current opinion in cell biology, 25, 619-26, 23830911

Vinculin-actin interaction couples actin retrograde flow to focal adhesions, but is dispensable for focal adhesion growth

Thievessen I, Thompson PM, Berlemont S, Plevock KM, Plotnikov SV, Zemljic-Harpf A, Ross RS, Davidson MW, Danuser G, Campbell SL, Waterman CM
2013, The Journal of cell biology, 202, 163-77, 23836933

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Force fluctuations within focal adhesions mediate ECM-rigidity sensing to guide directed cell migration

Plotnikov SV, Pasapera AM, Sabass B, Waterman CM
2012, Cell, 151, 1513-27, 23260139

Second harmonic generation microscopy for quantitative analysis of collagen fibrillar structure

Chen X, Nadiarynkh O, Plotnikov S, Campagnola PJ
2012, Nature protocols, 7, 654-69, 22402635

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Cardiac fibroblasts require focal adhesion kinase for normal proliferation and migration

Manso AM, Kang SM, Plotnikov SV, Thievessen I, Oh J, Beggs HE, Ross RS
2009, American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology, 296, H627-38, 19136609

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Measurement of muscle disease by quantitative second-harmonic generation imaging

Plotnikov SV, Kenny AM, Walsh SJ, Zubrowski B, Joseph C, Scranton VL, Kuchel GA, Dauser D, Xu M, Pilbeam CC, Adams DJ, Dougherty RP, Campagnola PJ, Mohler WA
2008, Journal of biomedical optics, 13, 044018, 19021346

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Second harmonic generation imaging microscopy studies of osteogenesis imperfecta

Nadiarnykh O, Plotnikov S, Mohler WA, Kalajzic I, Redford-Badwal D, Campagnola PJ
2007, Journal of biomedical optics, 12, 051805, 17994883

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Characterization of the myosin-based source for second-harmonic generation from muscle sarcomeres

Plotnikov SV, Millard AC, Campagnola PJ, Mohler WA
2006, Biophysical journal, 90, 693-703, 16258040

Optical clearing for improved contrast in second harmonic generation imaging of skeletal muscle

Plotnikov S, Juneja V, Isaacson AB, Mohler WA, Campagnola PJ
2006, Biophysical journal, 90, 328-39, 16214853

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