The fields of membrane biology and protein trafficking encompass a wide array of cellular processes pivotal to understanding basic cellular biology in all organisms from prokaryotes to mammals. Membrane biology entails studies on the biogenesis and metabolism of phospholipids as well as the biophysical dynamics of membrane and protein interactions. Although clearly integral to membrane biology, protein trafficking focuses on the molecular mechanisms controlling protein packaging into vesicular carriers and their delivery, together with membrane-associated proteins, to various organelles and the plasma membrane. The molecular control of membrane and protein trafficking is essential to understanding a multitude of cellular processes including, but not limited to, organelle biogenesis and remodeling, secretory transport carrier formation, exocytosis, endocytosis, cytokinesis, autophagy, phagocytosis, cell migration, and the development of cellular polarity. Abnormalities in these processes directly impact the pathobiology of a wide range of diseases from neurodegeneration to diabetes and are therefore essential to identify therapeutic targets to treat these disorders. Trainers in the Membrane Biology and Protein Trafficking focus group utilize an array of highly sophisticated molecular, microscopic and biophysical techniques to analyze cellular function. These approaches ultimately provide students with wide ranging experience allowing them to understand how single molecule/pathway alterations impact the overall physiology and health of plants and animals.
Focus Group Chair Guy Groblewski
Nutritional Sciences Department
Membrane trafficking in digestive epithelia