Cellular Physiology

The Arumugam group investigates integrative processes in a living cell that are central to life. We use concepts in physics to frame mechanisms that go beyond lack of clarity that is inherently associated with decribing a protein's activity as 'regulation' [1]. Our hypothesis building excercises are found on observations and quantitation of biological events (preferrably unperturbed) at high spatio-temporal measurements using cutting-edge and appropriate microscopy techniques. Our current focus is on endosomal network, the transport system of the cell, that also plays an important role in signal interpretation [2]. A concept we have been exploring in the lab is that of time-keeping of processes in the cells. What molecular mechanisms set the rate of endosomal maturation, a process defined by the localization of specific 'marker proteins' that defines the local biochemistry. What are the first passage times for the receptor arrival? What are the implications of time-keeping in interpreting a signal (e.g. a ligand pulse in time) for the cell? What mechanisms operate to distinguish distinct ligand concentrations?


[1] Is the concept of regulation overused in molecular and cellular biology? Eran Pichersky, Plant Cell, 2005. 

[2] To be more precise: the role of intracellular trafficking in development and pattern formation. Biochem Soc Trans. 2020

Understanding how complex properties arise out of molecules and their interactions, with a primary focus on endosomal trafficking at the level of single cells and in the context of intercellular communications in development.

  • Endosomal transport and signal processing
  • Advanced fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy (Single Molecule imaging, Lattice Light-Sheet microscopy, Fluroescenc Correlation Spectroscopy, Fluorescence Lifetime, Optogenetics)
  • Computational image analysis
  • Inter-organelle interactions and integrative processes. 
  • Cell migration and cellular decision making
  • Teaching: evolving undergraduate teaching approaches for modern biochemistry (encompassing quantitative microscopy, modelling and concepts of emergent phenomena) 

Highlight publications

Published In

Senthil Arumugam†, Stefanie Schmieder†, Weria Pezheshkian†, Ulrike Becken, Christian Wunder, Dan Chinnapen, John Hjort Ipsen, Anne K. Kenworthy, Wayne Lencer, Satyajit Mayor, Ludger Johannes. † Equal contributions

Ceramide structure dictates glycosphingolipid nanodomain assembly and function

Erick Vargas Ordaz, Sergey Gorelick, H M York, B Liu, Michelle L Halls, S Arumugam, Adrian Neild, Alex de Marco, Victor Cadarso.

Three-dimensional imaging on a chip using optofluids light-sheet fluorescence microscopy

Finian Leyden, Sanjeev Uthishtran, U K Moorthi, H M York, A Patil, H Gandhi, E P Petrov, S Arumugam*

Rac1 activation can generate untemplated, lamellar membrane ruffles

Harrison York, Amandeep Kaur, Abhishek Patil, Aditi Bhowmik, Ullhas K Moorthi, Geoffrey J Hyde, Hetvi Gandhi, Katharina Gaus, Senthil Arumugam*

Rapid Whole Cell Imaging Reveals an APPL1-Dynein Nexus That Regulates Stimulated EGFR Trafficking

Nidhi Yadu, Audra Namboothri, S Arumugam*

FtsZ: the force awakens

Harrison York, Joanne Coyle, Senthil Arumugam*

To be more precise, the role of intracellular trafficking in development and pattern formation

Rupam Choudhury, Sukhdeep Singh, Senthil Arumugam, Assen Roguev, A Francis Stewart

The Set1 complex is dimeric and acts with Jhd2 demethylation to convey symmetrical H3K4 trimethylation

wu, yuteng; Kaur, Amandeep; Fowler, Elaine; Wiedmann, Mareike; Young, Reginald; Galloway, Warren; Olsen, Lasse; Sore, Hannah; Chattopadhyay, Anasuya; Kwan, Terence; Xu, Wenshu; Walsh, Stephen; de Andrade, Peterson; Janecek, Matej; Arumugam, Senthil; Itzhaki, Laura; Lau, Yu Heng ; Spring, David

A toolbox of diverse linkers for navigating the cellular efficacy landscape of stapled peptides

Barun Kumar Maity, Anand Kant Das, Simli Dey, Ullhas Kaarthi Moorthi, Amandeep Kaur, Arpan Dey, Dayana Surendran, Rucha Pandit, Mamata Kallianpur, Bappaditya Chandra, Muralidharan Chandrakesan, Senthil Arumugam*and Sudipta Maiti*

Ordered and Disordered Segments of Amyloid-β Drive Sequential Steps of the Toxic Pathway

Senthil Arumugam* and Amandeep Kaur

The Lipids of the Early Endosomes: Making Multimodality Work.

Weria Pezeshkian†, Haifei Gao†, Senthil Arumugam†, Ulrike Becken, Patricia Bassereau, Jean- Claude Florent, John Hjort Ipsen, Ludger Johannes, Julian C. Shillcock.  † Equal contributions

Mechanism of Shiga Toxin Clustering on Membranes.

Dhiraj Bhatia, Senthil Arumugam, Michel Nasilowski, Himanshu Joshi, Ved Prakash, Prabal Maiti, Ludger Johannes, Benoit Dubertret & Yamuna Krishnan

Quantum dot-loaded monofunctionalized DNA Icosahedra for single particle tracking of targeted endocytic pathways in living cells.

Senthil Arumugam, Eugene Petrov and Petra Schwille.

Cytoskeletal pinning prevents large-scale phase separation in four-component membranes.

Senthil Arumugam and Patricia Bassereau

Membrane nanodomains: contribution of curvature and interaction with proteins and cytoskeleton

Henri-François Renard, Mijo Simunovic, Joël Lemière, Emmanuel Boucrot, Maria-Daniela Garcia- Castillo, Senthil Arumugam, Valérie Chambon, Christophe Lamaze, Christian Wunder, Anne Kenworthy, Anne Schmidt, Harvey McMahon, Cécile Sykes, Patricia Bassereau and Ludger Johannes.

Endophilin-A2 functions in membrane scission in clathrin-independent endocytosis.

Ramya Lakshminarayan, Christian Wunder, Ulrike Becken, Mark T. Howes, Carola Benzing, Senthil Arumugam, Susanne Sales, Nicholas Ariotti, Valérie Chambon, Christophe Lamaze, Damarys Loew, Andrej Shevchenko, Katharina Gaus, Robert G. Parton and Ludger Johannes.

Galectin-3 Drives Glycosphingolipid-Dependent Biogenesis of Clathrin-Independent Carriers.

Senthil Arumugam, Zdenek Petrasek and Petra Schwille.

MinCDE exploits the dynamic nature of FtsZ filaments for its spatial regulation.

Paola Bisicchia, Senthil Arumugam, Petra Schwille, and David Sherratt.

MinCDE drive counter-oscillation of early cell division proteins prior to Escherichia coli septum formation.

Senthil Arumugam, Grzegorz Chwastek, Elisabeth Fischer-Freidich Carina Ehrig, Ingolf Moensch and PetraSchwille.

Surface Topology Engineering of Membranes for the Mechanical Investigation of the Tubulin Homologue FtsZ.

Bidyut Sarkar, Anand Kant Das, Senthil Arumugam, Sanjeev Kumar Kaushalya, Arkarup Bandyopadhyay, Jayaprakash Balaji and Sudipta Maiti.

The dynamics of somatic exocytosis in monoaminergic neurons.

Senthil Arumugam, Grzegorz Chwastek and Petra Schwille.

Protein-membrane interactions: the virtue of minimal systems in systems biology.

Kaushalya SK, Desai R, Arumugam S, Ghosh H, Balaji J, Maiti S.


Three-photon microscopy shows that somatic release can be a quantitatively significant component of serotonergic neurotransmission in the mammalian brain.

Kaushalya SK, Nag S, Ghosh H, Arumugam S, Maiti S.

A high-resolution large area serotonin map of a live rat brain section.

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A full list of Senthil Arumugam's publications is on Google Scholar.