The research topic of Liesbeth Veenhoof lab is the nuclear envelope. The development of this membrane-bound structure separating DNA from other cellular components was the crucial evolutionary event that gave rise to eukaryotes. The nuclear envelope protects and organizes the genome. Large protein assemblies, the nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), mediate all traffic across the nuclear envelope. They provide a selective channel for transport of macromolecules between the nuclear and the cytoplasmic compartments, and, between the inner and outer membranes of the nuclear envelope.
Group Leader of the Laboratory of Cellular Biochemistry
Nuclear envelope, nuclear pore complex, membrane protein traffic, yeast ageing
The group uses baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for their studies. The team investigates how the NPC acts as a selective gate for membrane proteins, and regulates the protein composition and function of the inner nuclear membrane, also as a function of age. Baker’s yeast is an interesting model for studying ageing; indeed many of the molecular players were first identified in yeast. Yeast cells divide asymmetrical and while the mother cell ages, the daughter cell retains replicative potential.
The group aims for a system wide global characterization of age-related changes, as well as detailed understanding how the NPCs and cognate transport factors play a role in cellular ageing. Microscopy, biochemical and proteomics analysis are the main tools used at the lab.