Our work aims at elucidating how intracellular transport is regulated in eukaryotic cells. The main themes are:
– Function of Rab proteins: Rab GTP-ases are key regulators of transport. We are focusing on the Rab6 family that controls several transport steps at the Golgi level (Fig. 1). We also investigate the deregulation of Rab and Rab effectors genes during cancer progression and the role of Rabs in APP (amyloid precursor protein) trafficking.
– Physical parameters underlying transport events: We have developed in vitro systems based on giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) that recapitulates the initial steps of vesicular transport. These assays are used to unravel the role of physical parameters such as membrane tension and membrane curvature. We are also developing novel approaches to measure membrane tension in vivo.
– Understanding the global organization of endomembranes: We have developed a computational imaging approach for quantifying the 3D organization of endomembranes with probabilistic density maps in micropatterned cells (Fig. 2). We use this approach to identify proteins that sustain the steady-sate organization of endomembranes. We are also investigating the spatial organization of endocytic pathways in normal and cancer cells.