Molecular Mechanism of Protein Transport
My research focuses on how intracellular protein transport is tightly regulated. Coat proteins, which initiate intracellular transport by coupling their roles in the vesicle formation and cargo sorting, are the best described to control the vesicular transport through their abilities to deform the membrane and directly bind to the cargo. ARF6 (ADP-Ribosylation Factor 6) is a small GTPase functioning in the regulation of endocytic recycling. Previously, I already defined the cargo adaptors, ACAP1 and AKT, both required for the endocytic recycling. ACAP1 (ARFGAP with Coil-coil, Ankyrin repeat and PH domain 1) is a GAP (GTPase-Activating Protein) for ARF6 to promote GTP hydrolysis of ARF6 and therefore to release ARF6 from the membrane. AKT is a serine/threonine kinase involving in many cellular processes, such as cell growth and migration. Although ACAP1 and AKT work together to regulate endocytic recycling, however, the upstream signaling that facilitates ACAP1 and AKT for the function of endocytic recycling remains unclear. In addition, how ACAP1 and AKT cooperate each other to form the complex for cargo sorting still needs to be resolved. These functional studies on the coat protein complexes will shed molecular insights into key physiologic and pathologic events, such as cell growth and migration.