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LMCB - MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

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Research Synopsis

Life as we think of it is largely eukaryotic, made of multicellular organisms from insects to trees, fish and humans. However, all eukaryotes likely evolved from a symbiotic event between an archaeon and a bacterium. The result was a cell with more than one internal compartment and thereby primed for biological specialisation both internally and as part of a group. Over time eukaryotes achieved enormous complexity and variation, but due to their origin certain fundamentals can be traced back to their archaeal-bacterial origin. 
My work is focussed on the cell division machinery in the archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, which makes use of ESCRT proteins also found in eukaryotes, but not bacteria. This conservation is an indication that eukaryotes likely inherited the system from archaea. 
In eukaryotes, the ESCRT machinery has a large number of components and serves multiple purposes, from sorting protein cargo to severing the midbody of dividing cells. In contrast, the ESCRT machinery in Sulfolobus appears minimal and has only one clear purpose, the separation of daughter cells. By studying Sulfolobus acidocaldarius I aim to develop a minimal machinery model for ESCRTs and tease out the core principles of this key machinery. 
 

Biography

2015 | BSc, Biochemistry, Imperial College London, UK

Funders

Medical Research Council

Research Themes

Archaeal cell cycle and cell division machinery

Technology

Biochemistry, Flow cytometry, Light microscopy, Molecular biology, Super-resolution microscopy