Exploring How a Cell Consumes Itself
The ability to capture and degrade specific ctyoplasmic targets including protein aggregates, invading pathogens or even whole dysfunctional organelles forms the basis of the cell's response to disease ranging from neurodegeneration to cancer and heart disease. In each case, large cytoplasmic targets are identified and encapsulated in a newly-formed organelle, the autophagosome, which wraps portions of cytosol in a double-membraned compartment and eventually delivers it to the lysosome for degradation. How these targets are identified and how this organelle forms are the major foci of our laboratory.
- Anjali Jotwani was awarded both the George J. Schulz Summer Research in the Physical Sciences Fellowship and a Yale College Dean's Research Fellowship.
- Meaghan Barr was awarded a Yale College Dean's Research Fellowship.
How autophagy proteins determine the unique structure of the autophagosome is just beginning to be understood. Our first efforts to study one such protein, Atg8, have just been published:
- Nair et al., 2011. Cell, 146,290-302.
- Jotwani et al., Methodas in Cell Biology, Lipids Volume, in press.