Kavli Institute For Theoretical Physics Presents The KITP Public Lecture Series
How Cells Package and Traffic Proteins for Export
sponsored by Friends of KITP
Human cells manufacture thousands of different proteins which they encapsulate into membrane-wrapped packets called vesicles.
Vesicles buzz around within the cell to many different destinations, but some are delivered to the cell perimeter where they discharge their contents to the exterior. What are the mechanics of this export process, a mechanism nearly unchanged over a billion years of evolution.? How is it regulated? How can we exploit this ancient manufacturing and transportation system for the sake of modern medicine? Understanding this process and its regulation has brought many benefits (besides a trip to Scandinavia); for example, it has allowed the biotech industry to exploit yeast as a production platform for the secretion of human proteins such as recombinant insulin. That process now supplies fully 1/3 of the insulin used by sufferers of diabetes worldwide.