The endoplasmic reticulum is a cellular compartment committed to protein and lipid synthesis, maturation and trafficking, as well as calcium homeostasis. Our laboratory is particularly interested in the mechanisms by which this organelle integrates nutrient-sensing, immuno-metabolic responses, and endocrine networks. Under this broad umbrella, we study: a) Organelle architecture and functions in cellular homeostasis control b) Nutrient sensing and adaptive responses through ER-resident proteins; c) Mechanisms of endoplasmic reticulum dysfunction and stress.
The ER and Molecular Guardians of Metabolic Biology
We have identified the ER-resident transcription factor erythroid 2 related factor-1 (Nrf1/Nfe2L1) as a critical sensor and regulator against excessive cholesterol exposure. Our interest lies in understanding the mechanisms by which specialized ER-resident proteins such as Nrf1 sense different nutrients and couple to a broad adaptive program to maintain cellular integrity and homeostasis.
Subcellular Architecture as a New Frontier in Metabolic Homeostasis
In the context of obesity, the ER is less capable of storing calcium properly, leading to impaired function of metabolic enzymes. We have shown that proteins that sense and regulate the levels of calcium in the ER, such as STIM1, are altered in liver cells of obese mice.