Research InterestsOur research focuses on how membrane traffic is controlled by SNARE proteins and by the septin proteins of the cytoskeleton. We study this in the context of neurotransmitter release and in cell division.
Affiliations: Canada Research Chair in Molecular Cell Biology
Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
Keywords: Synaptic Vesicle / Synaptobrevin / Neurotoxin / Docking / Fusion
Role of septins in cell division.
A major focus of our research in recent years has been to elucidate the functions of a family of cytoskeletal, filamentous GTPases called septins. Septins are essential for the final step in the cell cycle, cytokinesis, in a wide variety of organisms from yeast to man. Current work in the laboratory is aimed at determining how they are regulated, defining their role in cytokinesis, and determining what other cellular processes they may regulate. They have diverse functions as diffusion barriers and multi-molecular scaffolds. In addition, we have found that septins regulate exocytosis in the brain at least part of their function in cytokinesis may be to mediate the fusion of membranes necessary for the division of cells.
Molecular mechanisms of membrane fusion.
Research in my laboratory has had a longstanding interest in understanding the mechanisms that control the fusion of intracellular membranes. Such fusion events are responsible for everything from the secretion of neurotransmitters in the brain and release of hormones into the bloodstream, to the maintenance of organelle structure. Specifically, we are examining the SNARE proteins, which are thought to control the docking and fusion of secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane. These proteins, VAMP, syntaxin, and SNAP-23/25 form a stable complex which is disassembled by action of the soluble proteins SNAP and NSF. More recent work has focused on the AAA ATPase NSF and its regulation within the brain.
Procedures: Elisa, Immunocytochemistry, Mass Spectrometry, Signal Transduction characterization, siRNA, Western Blot
Analytical balances, Benchtop centrifuge, Blotting apparatus, Confocal microscope, Culture hood, Culture incubators, Deconvolution fluorescence microscope, Fluorescence microscope, Gel apparatus, Low- high speed centrifuge, Low and ultralow Freezers, Microwave Oven, Mini Vortexer, Stirrer/ Hot Plate, Water Baths.
Ankur Bodalia (co-supervisor)
Within the Department of Physiology:
Outside the Department of Physiology:
Sergio Grinstein Biochemistry/Toronto/Canada
Ernst-Martin Fuchtbauer Mol. Biol. Genet./Aarhus/Denmark
Publications and Awards