Functional genomics in Dictyostelium: autophagy and mitochondrial dysfunction

Research topics

Study of the function of Vmp1 and the connection with autophagy


Autophagy is an intracellular degradative process involved in several human diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. We are addressing the basic molecular mechanisms of autophagy. Vmp1 is an endoplasmic reticulum protein involved in autophagy. We are studying its role in the origin of the autophagosomes from the ER and its connection with PI3P signalling. 

Mitochondrial dysfunction and autophagy


We are studying the function of two mitochondrial proteins (MidA and C20orf7) in cellular bioenergetics and autophagy using the model system Dictyostelium discoideum. These proteins are assembly factors of the Complex I, and their abnormal function might lead to mitochondrial disease. 

Identification of new autophagic proteins


We are using genetic and proteomic approaches to identify new proteins involved in the autophagic machinery. We use Dictyostelium and human cell lines to inactivate the candidate genes and study their function. 

Autophagy and obesity


We are studying the expression of autophagy genes in different human tissues of obese patients and their function by siRNA in culture cell lines.