“In our laboratory, we exploit molecular genetics, biochemistry, and genomics to understand how the cell coordinates the transfer of molecular cargo between internal membranes to regulate its growth.”
Imagine the chaos on the streets if there were no road signs or lights to coordinate traffic. Cells also have traffic routes for transferring molecular cargo to-and-from specific membrane destinations within their interior. However, without some way to coordinate the cellular traffic of lipids and proteins within cells, gridlock would result and growth would come to a standstill. Our research focuses on two important questions about membrane transport within cells: (i) what are the critical molecular parts needed for these transport machines to work; (ii) is there a cellular regulator that coordinates the movement of all these different transport machines? Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) as a living test tube, our research has identified mechanisms for how sterols like cholesterol are transferred from inside the cell to its outer membrane. We have also discovered a regulatory mechanism that integrates the transport cycle of membrane proteins going to-and-from the cell surface. Through our research we are answering fundamental questions about the dynamics of cell growth, which has direct implications for human health and combating disease.
For more details, visit our research lab website.
- Quon E, Sere YY, Chauhan N, Johansen J, Sullivan DP, Dittman JS, Rice WJ, Chan RB, Di Paolo G, Beh CT, Menon AK (2018). Endoplasmic reticulum-plasma membrane contact sites integrate sterol and phospholipid regulation. PLoS Biol. 16(5):e2003864. PLoS Biol 2018
- Johansen, J. et al. Polarized exocytosis induces compensatory endocytosis by Sec4p-regulated cortical actin polymerization. PLoS Biol 2016
- Quon E, Beh CT. (2016) Membrane Contact Sites: Complex Zones for Membrane Association and Lipid Exchange. Lipid Insights. 8(Suppl 1):55-63. Lipid Insights 2016
- Beh, C.T. et al. A detour for yeast oxysterol-binding proteins. J Biol Chem 2012
- Johansen et al. Vesicle trafficking from a lipid perspective: Lipid regulation of exocytosis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Cell Logist 2012
- Alfaro et al. The sterol-binding protein Kes1/Osh4p is a regulator of polarized exocytosis. Traffic 2011