1. -The alpha-arrestin protein family

Alpha-arrestins play an essential role in the regulation of intracellular trafficking and lysosomal/vacuolar degradation of plasma membrane receptors and transporters. These proteins are key players in the regulation of metabolism and are associated with diseases such as diabetes and obesity. The function of alpha-arrestins is conserved in mammals and simpler organisms such as the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We used this model organism to characterize the regulatory mechanisms of the Rim8/Art9 alpha-arrestin, which acts as an adaptor between a seven transmembrane spanning receptor and the ESCRT endocytic machinery.

- Molecular mechanisms involved in the process of autophagy

Autophagy is an intracellular degradation mechanism involved in several pathologies such as neurodegenerative diseases ChAc (Corea-acanthocytosis) and BPAN (Beta-propeller Protein-Associated Neurodegeneration). Mutations in the VPS13A and WIPI4/WDR45 genes are responsible for these diseases. Our main goal is to determine the function of these proteins in autophagy. Vps13 and WIPI proteins are evolutionarily conserved and we use the model organism S. cerevisiae to analyze their function and to identify their interactome by using the two-hybrid system. Human cell lines will be used to validate the results obtained in yeast and the corresponding human genes will be inactivated by CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing.

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