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Search Results to Mary Munson PhD

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Academic Background

Mary Munson was a double major in Chemistry and Biology at Washington University(St. Louis), receiving her bachelor's degree in 1989. In 1996, she received her Ph.D.from Yale University in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, where she was awarded both American Heart Association and NIH postdoctoral fellowships. She joined the faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in 2001.

Regulation of vesicle targeting and fusion

Vesicle targeting and fusion are tightly regulated processes used by eukaryotic cells to transport cargo between membrane-bound subcellular compartments and to the plasma membrane for secretion. The proper function and specificity of these processes are crucial for maintenance of cellular integrity, normal growth, and for intercellular signaling events, such as neurotransmission.

We are interested in understanding the mechanistic basis for regulation of the spatial and temporal specificity of vesicle fusion, at the correct site on the target membrane. Many questions remain to be answered. For example, what marks the site of fusion on the target membrane? What checks to make sure that the correct vesicle docks at the right place? How are the membrane fusion proteins regulated to ensure that the wrong vesicle does not fuse? Our aim is to answer questions such as these through a multifaceted approach that combines biochemical, structural and biophysical techniques with yeast genetics, microscopy and cell biological methods. We are investigating proteins that regulate exocytosis in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Because these proteins are conserved from yeast to man, these studies will advance our understanding of how secretion is regulated in all eukaryotic cells.

Our Research

Our investigations mainly focus on the Exocyst complex (Fig. 1), a protein complex essential for vesicle trafficking (exocytosis) in all eukaryotes. The proteins that form the Exocyst complex localize to secretory vesicles and to sites of active secretion at bud tips and mother-bud necks. These proteins are essential for cell viability, show physical and genetic interactions with the the membrane fusion proteins (SNAREs) and with each other, and their temperature-sensitive mutants have secretory blocks and accumulate secretory vesicles.

Our research has several aims: 1) biophysical and structural studies of the Exocyst proteins and their interactions with each other; 2) creation and testing of mutants in vivo, in order to elucidate the functions of the Exocyst proteins; 3) characterization of interactions between the Exocyst and other proteins required for exocytosis, such as the SNARE proteins, and regulators such as Sec1p and the small Rab GTPase Sec4p; and 4) genetic and proteomic identification of novel regulators of exocytosis and SNARE complex assembly. Additionally, we are characterizing the regulation of endocytosis by the Sec1-homolog Vps45p, through its interactions with the endosomal SNARE proteins.

Figure 1.Current model for the architecture of the exocyst complex

Current model for the architecture of the exocyst complex

Rotation Projects

Potential Rotation Projects

Research in the Munson lab is focused on biochemical/biophysical and cell biological characterization of proteins in the exocyst complex. Potential rotation projects include the following:

  • Cloning of various exocyst protein domains and point mutations. These will be expressed in E. coli for biochemical/structural studies, and their functions tested in yeast.
  • Protein expression and purification. Develop purification strategies for several exocyst proteins and their domains, using chromatography methods such as ion exchange and gel filtration (Fig. 2).
  • Characterization of the purified exocyst proteins. Protein structure, stability, oligomerization state and protein:protein interactions will be monitored by such techniques as circular dichroism, analytical ultracentrifugation and gel filtration (Fig. 3).
  • Crystallography. We have determined the structure of the C-terminal domain of Sec6p (Fig. 4). Crystallization trials ofotherexocyst proteins and their domains are in progress.
  • Design and test functional exocyst mutants in yeast. Mutants will be characterized using a variety of biochemical, cell biological, and microscopic techniques.
  • Identify novel regulators of yeast exocytosis using a genetic screen. Mutants created in these screens are currently being tested and identified (Fig. 5). Their role in exocytosis will be explored

Gel Filtration Curve Circular dichroism spectrum

Structure of the C-terminal domain of Sec6pMutant yeast cannot lose the covering plasmid (red)


One or more keywords matched the following items that are connected to Munson, Mary

Item TypeName
Academic Article Dimerization of the exocyst protein Sec6p and its interaction with the t-SNARE Sec9p.
Academic Article The structure of the exocyst subunit Sec6p defines a conserved architecture with diverse roles.
Academic Article TBC-domain GAPs for Rab GTPases accelerate GTP hydrolysis by a dual-finger mechanism.
Academic Article Specific SNARE complex binding mode of the Sec1/Munc-18 protein, Sec1p.
Academic Article Tag team action at the synapse.
Academic Article Conservation of helical bundle structure between the exocyst subunits.
Academic Article Functional homology of mammalian syntaxin 16 and yeast Tlg2p reveals a conserved regulatory mechanism.
Academic Article The N-terminal peptide of the syntaxin Tlg2p modulates binding of its closed conformation to Vps45p.
Academic Article Autoinhibition of SNARE complex assembly by a conformational switch represents a conserved feature of syntaxins.
Academic Article Conformational regulation of SNARE assembly and disassembly in vivo.
Academic Article Crystal structure of the APOBEC3G catalytic domain reveals potential oligomerization interfaces.
Academic Article The structure of the Myo4p globular tail and its function in ASH1 mRNA localization.
Academic Article A cytosolic ATM/NEMO/RIP1 complex recruits TAK1 to mediate the NF-kappaB and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/MAPK-activated protein 2 responses to DNA damage.
Academic Article Regulation of exocytosis by the exocyst subunit Sec6 and the SM protein Sec1.
Academic Article Myosin V transports secretory vesicles via a Rab GTPase cascade and interaction with the exocyst complex.
Academic Article PTEN phosphatase selectively binds phosphoinositides and undergoes structural changes.
Academic Article Sec6p anchors the assembled exocyst complex at sites of secretion.
Academic Article A role for the syntaxin N-terminus.
Academic Article Tip20p reaches out to Dsl1p to tether membranes.
Academic Article Watching proteins in motion.
Academic Article A mutant form of PTEN linked to autism.
Academic Article Exorcising the exocyst complex.
Concept Vesicular Transport Proteins
Concept Membrane Proteins
Concept Protein Binding
Concept Protein Subunits
Concept Protein Transport
Concept DNA-Binding Proteins
Concept Protein Folding
Concept Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
Concept p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
Concept Qa-SNARE Proteins
Concept Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
Concept Carrier Proteins
Concept Cell Cycle Proteins
Concept Recombinant Proteins
Concept Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
Concept Mutant Proteins
Concept Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
Concept Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
Concept Repressor Proteins
Concept Soluble N-Ethylmaleimide-Sensitive Factor Attachment Proteins
Concept rab GTP-Binding Proteins
Concept Proteins
Concept Munc18 Proteins
Concept Protein Structure, Secondary
Concept Protein Structure, Tertiary
Concept Protein Multimerization
Concept Green Fluorescent Proteins
Concept Recombinant Fusion Proteins
Concept SNARE Proteins
Concept Protein Stability
Concept Protein Structure, Quaternary
Concept Fungal Proteins
Concept Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
Concept Drosophila Proteins
Concept Qc-SNARE Proteins
Concept Molecular Motor Proteins
Concept Protein Conformation
Concept GTPase-Activating Proteins
Concept Nerve Tissue Proteins
Concept Tumor Suppressor Proteins
Concept RNA-Binding Proteins
Concept SUMO-1 Protein
Academic Article To protect or reject.
Academic Article Synaptic-vesicle fusion: a need for speed.
Academic Article The Exocyst Subunit Sec6 Interacts with Assembled Exocytic SNARE Complexes.
Academic Article Three steps forward, two steps back: mechanistic insights into the assembly and disassembly of the SNARE complex.
Academic Article Subunit connectivity, assembly determinants and architecture of the yeast exocyst complex.
Academic Article Integrative Structure and Function of the Yeast Exocyst Complex.
Academic Article Introduction.

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