Moving transporters into intracellular storage: identifying new components of the early endosome retrograde sorting machinery in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Vesicle transport is a process that underlies various molecular events, such as the movement of glucose transporters in response to insulin in muscle and fat cells. Malfunctions in these transport processes can result in a range of problems, including diabetes or problems in learning and memory formation. An important but unclear aspect of vesicle transport is how molecules are retained within specialized compartments in the cell and how they are released to the cell surface. Chris Tam’s research goal is to identify proteins that control the storage and release of molecules in yeast cells. She is doing this by conducting high-throughput genome-wide screening to uncover yeast genes that are required for the intracellular storage of the protein Chs3. As the basic cellular mechanisms that regulate vesicle transport are likely conserved in both yeast and humans, this understanding from yeast cells may provide insights into various fundamental aspects of human biology. Ultimately, this work may contribute to the development of new treatments for diabetes and diseases involving memory and learning deficits.