Integrative approaches to resolve the mechanism of exocytosis

In our group, we aim to overcome technical limitations by integrating advanced light microscopy in a structural biology approach. This, allows us to resolve elusive mechanisms in biology, such as the conformational switches governing exocytosis.

Recent progress done in the structural analysis of the exocyst, provided us with a unique opportunity to investigate the molecular basis of exocytosis. We have integrated in vitro and in situ studies addressing the mechanism that drives secretory vesicle tethering. The combination of biochemical assays upon protein depletion (Heider et al., 2016), structure reconstruction by cryo-EM and Cross-linking mass spectrometry (Mei et al., 2018) and live-cell imaging assisted by anchoring platforms (Picco et al., 2017), suggests that the tethering of secretory vesicles involves elusive structural rearrangements of the exocyst (Irastorza-Azcarate et al., 2019).