Membranology Unit (Keiko Kono)
Cellular wounding and repair of local plasma membranes occur constantly in our bodies. Plasma membrane damage can be induced by various triggers ranging from physical disruption and pathogen invasion to physiological cellular activities, such as muscle contraction. Accumulating evidence suggests the involvement of cellular wound healing in various diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy. However, the molecular mechanisms and physiological consequences of plasma membrane repair are poorly understood. Our unit tackles these issues using cell biology, biochemistry and genetics in multiple systems, including yeast and human cultured cells. We previously discovered two key mechanisms: 1) proteasomal degradation triggers repair responses (Kono et al., Cell, 2012), and 2) a cell cycle checkpoint in G1 monitors plasma membrane damage (Kono et al., PNAS, 2016). A long-term scientific goal will be to reveal the link between cancer/senescence and a plasma membrane.
We welcomed a new postdoc from Malaysia, Nurhanani (Hana). She is an experienced scientist with a bright personality. Her expertise is quite cross-disciplinary (molecular biology, immunology, bioinformatics and more). We are excited to work with you, Hana!
We needed to say good-bye to our lab mates, a post-doc Yumiko and a rotation student Yuta. The good news is that they stay in OIST. Yuta will come back to us in Sep 2021 as a Ph.D. student, and Yumiko will move to the Husnik unit. Yumiko worked with us for two years and contributed a lot to the work on the plasma membrane damage responses. We will miss her Okinawan mind, "nankurunaisa (If you work hard and stay on the right path, a better day will come in the end)". Yumiko, thank you very much, and all the best for your next journey!
Claire started her new life as an intern student. She previously worked at OIST Innovation Square Incubator! Welcome Claire, Let's have fun together!