Olof Idevall-Hagren

Ongoing projects:

Organelle communication via membrane contacts sites (MCS)

Extended-Synaptotagmins generate ER-PM contacts

Optogenetic tool development and implementation

Plasma membrane PI(4,5)P2 regulate insulin secretion

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Organelle communication via membrane contacts sites (MCS)

The architecture of the prototypic mammalian cell has been the focus of intense study since the early days of microscopy. With the development of electron microscopy for the biological sciences in the 1950’s came the detailed characterization of most cellular organelles, like the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the Golgi apparatus and secretory vesicles. More recently, using live cell imaging techniques, it has been found that these organelles are highly dynamic structures that constantly reform, reshape and redistribute within the cell. Many organelles also seem to communicate through direct contacts, formed by protein and lipid complexes. Such membrane contact sites (MCS) are hubs for the transfer of lipids, ions and proteins between the organelles and key to the normal function of these cellular compartments. With the insulin secreting pancreatic ß-cell as our model, we employ high-resolution fluorescence microscopy together with genetically encoded biosensors and molecular tools to study and manipulate these cellular structures in order to better understand their function.

Figure 1: Schematic drawing depicting an insulin-secreting pancreatic b-cell. The membrane-enclosed endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of these cells is distributed throughout the cytosol of the cell and makes contacts with numerous other membranes, including the plasma membrane (PM) and the mitochondria (Mito.). Numerous processes occur at these membrane contact sites (MCS) but little is known about their composition.


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Olof Idevall-Hagren