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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Parallel use of yeast and mammalians for dissecting secretory traffic


Protein transport is fundamental for practically all-cellular processes, and defects in trafficking are associated with a variety of diseases. The Golgi apparatus is the main centre that regulates sorting to different cellular domains. While many genes and proteins have been described that regulate these processes, the carriers and mechanisms involved in Golgi to plasma membrane transport still require much clarification. Yeast has been an invaluable tool in defining genes that modulate the secretory pathway, and many of the genes/proteins/mechanisms described in yeast are conserved in higher eukaryotes.

The most significant progress in the knowledge of Golgi function has come from yeast genetics and from molecular and morphofunctional studies in mammals. However, the osmosis between yeast and mammalian research fields has been very limited so far. The rationale of the project is to combine the power of yeast genetics with the accuracy of morphofunctional analysis that can be reached only in mammalian cells. This systematic cross-species approach is in principle extremely powerful since it would compensate the defects and magnify the advantages intrinsic in the yeast and mammalian systems.

Yeast offers the unique opportunity to rapidly manipulate protein expression and to screen for multiple functional and physical protein interactions, but does not easily allow a detailed morphofunctional analysis. The latter is more accessible in mammals where one major limitation is instead the inability to block rapidly (i .e. within the time scale of the event being examined) the function of a protein. This host driven action is designed to gain competence in the area of yeast genetics and biology to complement the highly successful research that has been applied to this important area of cell biology in mammalian cells at the Host institute.

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