Discovering novel membrane remodellers and analyzing their cellular functions

Organelle division requires the limiting membrane to be constricted to nanometer dimensions before undergoing fission. Since organelles are of much larger dimensions, fission necessitates a topological transformation of organelles into a highly curved tube-like intermediate. Using arrayed membrane nanotubes (see the Resource page for more details) that display a wide range of curvatures, mimicking intermediates in the process of fission, we screen tissue lysates for fission activity and identify the sets of proteins that contribute to such activity. We then purify and reconstitute their functions to better understand how they work. The hits that emerge from our screen are tested for cellular function by making knock-out models and analysing morphological changes to various membrane compartments. Shown below is a schematic workflow of the discovery process.

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