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Title: Analysis of the novel Lipid transfer protein Anchored at Membrane contact sites (LAM) family
Author: Wong, L. H. Y.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 969X
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Membrane contact sites are dynamic structures where two organelles come into close proximity to regulate and facilitate the flow of material and information between them. One type of inter-organelle communication is lipid exchange, which is essential for membrane maintenance and in response to environmental and cellular stimuli. We recently discovered a new family of Lipid transfer proteins Anchored at Membrane contact sites (LAMs) that is present in all eukaryotes. LAM proteins are integral Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) proteins containing at least one domain that is structurally similar to the StARkin domain superfamily, a specialised fold that can bind amphipathic ligands such as lipids. The budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has six such proteins: Lam1p-6p. Lam1p-4p are located at contacts between the ER and the plasma membrane (PM), and Lam1p-3p are implicated in retrograde sterol traffic between the ER and PM. The PM contains a high concentration of sterol where it increases rigidity by altering the packing characteristics of the phospholipids in the bilayer. Sterol is also important in the ER, where its levels are low but it is both synthesised and sensed. However, the mechanism by which sterol traffics between the ER and the PM is unknown. This investigation characterises the phenotype of yeast delete LAM strains on Amphotericin B, a sterol sequestering antifungal agent and shows that the conserved StARkin domain of LAM proteins is responsible for resistance against Amphotericin B. Aspergillus fumigatus, a filamentous fungus, has two LAM proteins and the removal of AfLamA causes a severe growth phenotype. Also, in vitro studies indicate that LAM StARkin domains have a clear sterol transfer activity and a mutation that can diminish the function in vivo and in vitro has been identified. These findings present a new candidate protein family for intracellular sterol trafficking.
Supervisor: Levine, T. P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available