Jeanne Stachowiak on Disordered Proteins and Membrane Traffic

Dewpoint was excited to welcome Dr. Jeanne Stachowiak to join us virtually for a Kitchen Table Talk on April 14. Jeanne is an expert in lipid membrane biophysics, functional characterization of protein-mediated membrane architecture, and bio-material engineering. A mechanical engineer by training, Jeanne earned her BS degree at UT Austin, and her MS and PhD degrees at UC Berkeley. Jeanne is currently an Associate Professor at her alma mater, UT Austin, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

I first met Jeanne about 2 years ago at the GRC IDP meeting where she presented a fascinating story emerging from her lab, implicating the poorly characterized IDR portions of membrane adaptor proteins in membrane curvature sensing. The newest work originating from Jeanne’s research group brings new and rather unexpected insights implicating membrane-less bodies in the regulation of membrane biogenesis. Enjoy the talk!

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Diana Mitrea (00:00:00):
So it is my pleasure to welcome Jeanne Stachowiak at our today’s Kitchen Table Talk. Actually, I first met Jeanne about two years ago at the GRC IDP meeting, where she presented a fascinating story where she was assigning IDRs roles and sensing the membrane curvature. Jeanne is actually a mechanical engineer by training and she has earned her degrees at the University of Texas in Austin, and then her Master’s and PhD at UC Berkeley. Currently, she is an associate professor at her alma mater back at the University of Texas in Austin and she’s in the department of biomedical engineering. Jeanne’s new work, which I think she’s going to talk about today, shows now a new involvement of membrane-less organelles in the regulation of membrane biogenesis. So I think that’s pretty cool. So without further ado, thank you, Jeanne, for accepting our invitation and we look forward to hearing your story.

Jeanne Stachowiak (00:01:15):
Great. Thank you. I’m really glad to get to talk to you all and meet you. Great. So I’m going to share my screen. All right. Can everybody see? You see the slide all right?

Diana (00:01:36):

Mark Murcko (00:01:37):
It’s great. Yeah.

Jeanne Stachowiak (00:01:37):
Yeah? Okay. Great. All right. So it’s really a pleasure to speak with you guys today and I’m really excited to hear your thoughts on the work we’ve been doing. So for the last several years, we’ve been thinking about the roles of disordered proteins in membrane traffic, in the assembly of trafficking vesicles at the plasma membrane of all types of cells. So this is a field that, for decades, really has been very much dominated by structure function relationships. There’s a lot of structural biologists, and to some extent, the history of structural biology is really intertwined with the history of membrane traffic with proteins like the BAR domain and clathrin and many other structures being solved out of this field. So it’s really a perhaps strange, unusual perspective to think about disordered proteins in this pathway, but, as you’ll see, they play some important roles…

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