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Laboratory of Membrane Biology

Nowadays, the study of a human disease remains challenging, especially when the gene implicated has unknown function. As many eukaryotic biological processes have been conserved throughout evolution, model organisms have been used to help reveal the gene function, understand the cause of the disease and develop diagnostics tests and treatments. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the budding yeast used in beer, wine or bread preparation, is one of the most studied organisms. Yeast is a simple eukaryote which has properties that make it particularly suitable for biological studies.

In our lab we use yeast as a model organism to understand a human disease called CDG (Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation). Some CDG-patients have a mutation in a gene called TMEM165 which codes for a membrane protein localized in the Golgi apparatus. We use yeast to understand the role of TMEM165. For this purpose, we study the yeast TMEM165 protein called GDT1. Using this strategy, we could demonstrate that TMEM165/GDT1 is a membrane transporter that allows the transport of calcium across the Golgi apparatus membrane. We are currently trying to understand how TMEM165/GDT1 works and to establish the link between calcium transport and a defect of protein glycosylation causing CDG. 

    

In a second project, we study the endocytosis of membrane proteins in yeast and human cells. Endocytosis is a process necessary to control the abundance of membrane proteins localized at the cell surface. We are particularly interested in the endocytosis of vitamin transporters in yeast. We also study the endocytosis of particular membrane proteins in human cells. Some of these proteins are involved in diseases like CD166/ALCAM which is a cancer biomarker.