Our laboratory is interested in the fundamental question of how the cell controls the morphology and structure of its membranes. To this end, we are particularly interested in understanding endosomal sorting and the molecular mechanisms of endosomal membrane remodeling. Remodeling is performed by members of several protein families, including the SNX-BAR proteins and the dynamin-related proteins (DRPs). SNX-BAR and DRP mutations are both associated with health challenges, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
We use structural and biophysical approaches, supplemented with in vivo and high throughput genetic studies in the model organism S. cerevisiae. Recently, we used cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography, combined with live cell imaging and functional cell biological approaches, to characterize a retromer-dependent SNX-BAR involved in retrograde trafficking from the endosome as well as a DRP involved in endosomal membrane remodeling. In both cases, the structures we generated provided novel insights into the regulation of their function by self-assembly.
Our current work aims to understand how various SNX-BAR complexes are regulated and how they engage with their respective cargoes and binding partners, including members of the DRP family.
Department of Cell Biology
University of Pittsburgh
3500 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261