Our group studies the mechanisms that eukaryotic cells have developed to build cellular compartments and to maintain the correct distribution of their components.
The accumulation of specific biomolecules in delimited compartments is one of the most essential tasks of the cell. Eukaryotic cells need to regulate the assembly of biomolecules and their storage in specific locations to execute a wide range of functions such as building organelles, to control cell proliferation and to respond to changes in the environment. Vesicle trafficking, protein synthesis coupled to mRNA localization or the flipping of metabolites through a lipid bilayer are only some of the pathways involved in the asymmetric distribution of cellular components. However, the study of the mechanisms that mediate this temporal and spatial distribution has been traditionally impaired by the complexity and dynamic properties of the cellular machinery involved. Indeed, researchers frequently fail to isolate and characterize short-lived complexes that remain as one of the major bottlenecks for modern structural biology. Our group integrates different biochemical and light microscopy approaches, including the development of new methods such as PICT (Protein interactions from Imaging of Complexes after Translocation), in order to overcome aforementioned limitations for the analysis of transient assemblies in living cells. We aim to contribute to the characterization of the cellular machinery involve in the asymmetric distribution of cellular components both from a structural and mechanistic point of view.
Our work focuses in three main lines of research: