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Frigerio group - biogenesis of secretory pathway organelles

Most plant proteins of interest for human and animal nutrition, or of biotechnological value are located in, or travel through, the secretory pathway. After synthesis, secretory proteins are translocated into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where they acquire their mature tertiary and quaternary structure. They are then transported along the secretory system to their final destinations: the ER itself, the Golgi complex, endosomes, vacuoles, plasma membrane or the extracellular space.

Our research group is interested in some of the key processes that regulate the plant secretory system:


Biogenesis of protein storage vacuoles:

Vacuoles are degradative organelles in most plant tissues, but in seeds they act as a storage compartment. How can the same organelle have such different functions? We are using a combination of genetics, in vivo imaging and electron microscopy to understand how storage vacuoles arise in maturing seeds (Fig. 1).

Plant ER shape and function:

We are studying a number of proteins that are responsible for the unique architecture of the plant endoplasmic reticulum (Fig. 2). In Particular we focus on reticulons, (responsible for geenrating membrane tubules) and homolgues of mammalian atlastin (responsible for tubule fusion). The long-term aim is to establish how the dynamic morphology of the ER correlates with different cellular activities.



Current Group Members

Emily Breeze, research fellow
Joe McKenna, research fellow

Past Group Members:

Mistianne Feeney, research fellow
Rachel Clewes, BBSRC PhD student
Natasha Dzimitrowicz, BBSRC PhD student
Charlotte Carroll, BBSRC PhD Student
Hannah Lee, PhD student (currently at Unilever)
Mike Chow, MOAC PhD student (Joint supervision with Ann Dixon, Chemistry)
Stefano Gattolin, postdoctoral fellow (currently at National Research Council, Italy))
Mathias Sorieul, postdoctoral fellow (currently at Scion Research, New Zealand)
Sara Di Benedetto, MPhil student (currently co-founder and CEO at LOLIETTOO, Italy)
Nicholas Tolley, PhD student (currently at PriceWaterhouseCoopers)
Abdnacer Bouchekima (MOAC PhD student - joint supervision with M. Kirkilionis)
Christian Craddock, postdoctoral fellow (currently at UC Riverside)
Paul Hunter, PhD student (currently at King's College London)
James Nuttall, postdoctoral fellow (currently at Labtech)
Nicholas Jolliffe, postdoctoral fellow (now a guitar maker -
Jane Hadlington, postdoctoral fellow (currently at Applied Biosystems)
Matthew Paul, PhD student (currently at St George's Hospital, London)

Current and past funding from:

The Leverhulme Trust
The European Union
The British Council
The University of Warwick Research and Teaching Development Fund
The Wellcome Trust Translation awards

Research Collaborations:

Dr Roland Knorr, Humboldt University Berlin
Prof. Eva Stoeger at BOKU, Vienna
Prof Rima Menassa at UWO, Canada
Prof. David Robinson and Dr Giselbert Hinz at Heidelberg University, Germany
Prof. J├╝rgen Denecke at Leeds University
Prof. Bill Finch-Savage, SLS, Warwick
Dr Markus Kirkilionis, Mathematics Department, Warwick
Prof. Julian Ma at St George's Hospital, London
Dr Alessandro Vitale and Dr Aldo Ceriotti at the Istituto Biologia e Biotecnologia Agraria, CNR, Milano, Italy
Dr Alessandra Di Cola at the The Tun Abdul Razzak Research Centre (TARRC), Hertford