To fulfil their function, eukaryotic cells are packed with highly specialized organelles. Communication between these organelles is important for the proper function of the cell. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER), as the site of synthesis and turnover of most lipids and membrane proteins, plays a key role in inter-organelle communication. Connected with the nuclear outer membrane via membrane junctions, the ER is the nuclear membrane’s supply chain of lipids and proteins. However, the structural nature and regulation of ER-nucleus membrane junctions are poorly understood. The Otsuka lab aims to elucidate the molecular composition of these junctions as well as the mechanisms that regulate them.
With “conNEctoER”, the Otsuka lab pursues three aims to investigate ER-nucleus junctions: “We want to study which proteins regulate this junction, how the shape of the junction affects the transport of macromolecules, and what is the mechanism behind it”, Shotaro Otsuka explains. Using a combination of high-resolution electron microscopy, protein engineering, and mass spectrometry, the Otsuka lab takes a systematic approach to dissecting the composition and structure of the junctions.
This award brings the total number of ERC grants obtained by Perutz’ scientists to 18.
About Shotaro Otsuka:
Shotaro Otsuka was born in Tokyo, Japan, and obtained a PhD in Biophysics at Kyoto University. For his postdoctoral work, he moved to Europe in 2011 to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. In 2019, he started his own lab at the Max Perutz Labs Vienna.