Jorge Calderin
Cohort: 2021

Communication between organelles within a cell is driven by a set of specific and controlled protein-protein interactions between separate lipid membranes. A pairing of helical proteins called  Q-SNAREs and R-SNARE from opposing membranes spontaneously forms a  thermodynamically favorable 4 helical bundle referred to as a cis-SNARE complex initiating fusion. To promote future fusion events, this stable cis-SNARE complex has to be recycled into an active conformation by “N-ethylmaleimide Sensitive Factor” (AAA+ NSF) and its molecular chaperone “Soluble NSF attachment Proteins” (alpha-SNAP) (mammalian analog of Sec18/17 in yeast). My overall research focus is to better understand how NSF and alpha-SNAP protein functions are impacted by their local lipid environment to gain a better understanding of the conditions that promote or restrict vesicular fusion