MAM & PAM project

Mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs), physical platforms that enable communication between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), are enriched with many proteins and enzymes involved in several crucial cellular processes, such as calcium homeostasis, lipid synthesis and trafficking, autophagy and ROS production. An increasing number of studies indicate that also tumor suppressors and oncogenes are also present at these intimate contacts between mitochondria and the ER where they influence calcium flow between mitochondria and the ER or affect lipid homeostasis at MAMs, which consequently impacts cell metabolism and cell fate.

Dynamic interplay between intracellular organelles requires a particular functional apposition of membrane structures. The involved players come into close contact, but do not fuse, giving rise to notable microdomains, which allow rapid communication between the involved players. Such communication aids in the maintenance of proper cell physiology. Plasma membrane-associated membranes (PAM), which are microdomains of the plasma membrane (PM) interacting with microsomes (ER) and mitochondria, are dynamic structures that mediate transport of proteins, lipids, ions and metabolites. These structures have gained much interest lately due to their roles in many crucial cellular processes.

Together with my team we are continuing working on the molecular composition of MAM and PAM and their role in cellular physiology. As a result of these studies we published many papers in this scope e.g. (Giorgi et al., 2015; Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A), (Giorgi et al., 2015; Antioxid Redox Signal.), (Del Prete at al., 2017; J Alzheimers Dis.), (Danese et al., 2017; Biochim Biophys Acta), (Janikiewicz et al., Cell Death Dis.) and (Morciano et al., 2018; Neoplasia).