Antoineen White

Antoineen is a 2nd year IBiS student in the Lackner lab. She received a BA in Biology from Amherst College. Antoineen can be contacted via email here.


Functional Characterization of Novel Proteins Involved in Vesicular Trafficking and Membrane Contact Sites

Eukaryotic cells are defined by the presence of membrane bound organelles. These organelles must communicate with each other to allow the transport of proteins, lipids, and molecules from one organelle to another. Communication between organelles is facilitated by vesicle trafficking between compartments and membrane contact sites, which bring organelle membranes into close proximity. Defects in vesicle tethering and fusion result in severe deficiencies in mammalian tissue and have been implicated in several severe diseases that affect multiple systems including the skin, kidneys and nervous system. Thus, elucidating additional components of vesicle trafficking, their functions and their connection with membrane contact sites will add to the understanding of these diseases.

Our preliminary studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggest a role for two proteins of unknown function, YPR148c and Aim6, in vesicular trafficking and membrane contact. Consistent with roles in membrane trafficking, YPR148c has a predicted BAR domain and Aim6 has a transmembrane domain and a putative lipid modifying domain. Preliminary analyses of YPR148c and Aim6 physical interaction networks further support this potential role as many of their interaction partners are proteins involved in trafficking within the endomembrane system. Consistently, our imaging data demonstrate that Aim6 forms puncta that localize to the endoplasmic reticulum as well as the vacuole. Interestingly in response to specific carbon sources, Aim6 accumulates in the vacuole suggesting Aim6 may be regulated by changes in cellular metabolism. Aim6 has been reported to interact with YPR148c, which suggests the two proteins may function together in their membrane trafficking roles. We will use a combination of biochemical and cell biological approaches to determine the roles of Aim6 and YPR148c in vesicular trafficking and membrane contact sites. A strength of this approach is the ability to correlate in vitro biochemical analyses with studies of in vivo function.

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September 12, 2016