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Theses Doctoral

Cellular Response to Membrane Phospholipid Imbalance, in Yeast and in Human Disease

Vevea, Jason D.

Organelles sequester biological phenomena within the cell, and allow an additional layer of complexity to life. The presence and maintenance of these organelles is crucial for cellular function. Two of the most expansive and complex organelles are the mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum. These organelles contribute energy, protein folding and secretion, lipids, calcium regulation, and various other metabolites to the biology of the cell. Importantly, these organelles accumulate damage and cannot be derived de novo, therefore must be inherited and maintained in a functioning state. The study of these organelle quality control processes serves as the basis for my thesis.
We use the budding yeast as a model organism to uncover conserved pathways affecting organelle, and ultimately cellular homeostasis. In yeast we find mitochondrial inheritance is critical for cell survival. Furthermore, not only is inheritance critical, but inheritance of a certain threshold of functional mitochondria appears critical in maintaining normal lifespan in yeast, identifying mitochondria as an aging determinant.
By examining mutants that negatively affect mitochondrial inheritance in yeast, we established a role for phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis in organelle maintenance and inheritance. Glycerophospholipid biosynthesis plays a clear role not only in mitochondrial inheritance but also in that of the endoplasmic reticulum. We use insights gained from yeast to guide research into a human disease caused by similar glycerophospholipid biosynthetic deficiency.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine
Thesis Advisors
Pon, Liza A.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 5, 2015