Arash Komeili (PMB Berkeley)
MolBio Seminar Series
Arash received his PhD from UCSF in 2001. His thesis work was conducted in the laboratory of Professor Erin O'Shea on the mechanisms of nucleocytoplasmic transport of transcription factors. He then began a project to understand the formation of magnetosome organelles in Professor Dianne Newman's laboratory at Caltech. In 2005 he joined the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley where he is now an Associate Professor. He holds an Affiliated Associate Professor Position in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and is a faculty of the UC Berkeley Synthetic Biology Institute.
Interior Design: Cell Biology and Applications of Bacterial Organelles
Despite their apparent simplicity, bacterial cells are defined by a high degree of subcellular complexity and organization. One of the more dramatic examples of subcellular differentiation is the formation of protein-bounded and lipid-bounded organelles by a variety of bacterial species. The magnetosome chains of magnetotactic bacteria are one of the best-studied examples of membranous bacterial organelles. Magnetosome chains contain 15-20 approximately 50-nm magnetite crystals that act like compass needles to orient magnetotactic bacteria in geomagnetic fields, thereby simplifying their search for their preferred microaerophilic environments. The cell biological characteristics of magnetosomes make them ideal for the study of organelle biology in bacteria. Each magnetite crystal within a magnetosome is surrounded by a lipid bilayer, and specific soluble and transmembrane proteins are sorted to the magnetosome membrane. Additionally, a cytoskeletal framework, composed of the bacterial actin-like protein, MamK, is required for organizing individual magnetosomes into chains. In my group we study the molecular basis of magnetosome formation and magnetite biomineralization in Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1. We have identified and uncovered the potential function of a large number of magnetosome genes. Additionally, we are leveraging this information to develop magnetosome-based applications
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