The Bretscher Lab


The Bretscher lab studies how microfilaments contribute to the functional organization of eukaryotic cells. Two model systems are used.


In the first, we investigate the role of actin binding proteins in the functional organization of the apical aspect of polarized epithelial cells. This work is currently centered around ezrin, and has lead us to investigate both signaling and membrane traffic pathways.


In the second, we exploit budding yeast to understand how the actin cytoskeleton polarizes secretion and segregates organelles during the cell cycle. The current focus is on the role of formins and myosin-V motors.

To learn more about our research, click here.


Our research is funded in part by:

Anthony Bretscher, PhD

Tony Bretscher is a Professor of Cell Biology in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and is a member of the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology (Weill Institute). He is a member of the Graduate Fields of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Genetics, Genomics and Development. After training as a physicist at the University of Cambridge, he obtained his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Leeds, studying gene regulation in E. coli. He was then an EMBO Fellow to the Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University, where he worked with Dale Kaiser on development in the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. He was then a Max Planck Society Fellow to the Department of Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen, Germany, where he began his studies in cell biology with Klaus Weber. In 1980 he was appointed to the faculty in the Cell Biology Department at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. He moved to Cornell in 1981. He has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Biological Chemistry  and Molecular Biology of the Cell, and is currently on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Cell Biology and Journal of Cell Science. He is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Selected Publications

Shin M, van Leeuwen J, Boone C, Bretscher A. Yeast Aim21/Tda2 both regulates free actin by reducing barbed end assembly and forms a complex with Cap1/Cap2 to balance actin assembly between patches and cables.. Mol Biol Cell. 2018 Apr 15;29(8):923-936. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E17-10-0592. Epub 2018 Mar 30.

Lwin K, Li D, Bretscher A. Kinesin-related Smy1 enhances the Rab-dependent association of myosin-V with secretory cargo. Mol Biol Cell. 2016 Aug 1;27(15):2450-62. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E16-03-0185.

Sauvanet C, Wayt J, Pelaseyed T, Bretscher A. Structure, regulation, and functional diversity of microvilli on the apical domain of epithelial cells.. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2015;31:593-621. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-100814-125234.

Sauvanet C, Garbett D, Bretscher A. The function and dynamics of the apical scaffolding protein E3KARP are regulated by cell-cycle phosphorylation.. Mol Biol Cell. 2015 Oct 15;26(20):3615-27. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E15-07-0498. Epub 2015 Aug 26.

Donovan K, Bretscher A. Tracking individual secretory vesicles during exocytosis reveals an ordered and regulated process. J Cell Biol. 2015 Jul 13; 210(2):181-9.

Donovan K, Bretscher A. Head-to-tail regulation is critical for the in vivo function of myosin V.  J Cell Biol. 2015 May 4;209(3):359-65.

Xu L, Bretscher A. Rapid Glucose Depletion Immobilizes Active Myosin V on Stabilized Actin Cables.  Curr Biol. 2014 Oct 8; S0960-9822(14):01137-3.

Garbett D, Bretscher A. The surprising dynamics of scaffolding proteins. Mol Biol Cell. 2014 Aug 15; 25(16):2315-9.

mol cell bio 2012 textbook cover copy

Skip to toolbar