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Dr Jon Lane

Biography

I set up my lab in 2003 with the award of a Research Career Development Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust. This followed PhD training with Dr Howard Stebbings in Exeter and Postdoctoral training in molecular motors and membrane trafficking in Profs Viki Allan and Philip Woodman’s labs in Manchester. In particular, this period of training provided important insight into the control of ER membrane dynamics and structure through cell-based and cell-free assay systems. Microtubules, motors, organelle dynamics and membrane traffic have been unifying themes of my research so far, and it was applying this knowledge to the understanding of membrane trafficking processes during apoptosis on the back of 2 Journal of Cell Biology papers in 2001/2002 that enabled me to establish a niche research area. I set out to try to understand how altered cytoskeletal dynamics and membrane trafficking in apoptotic cells contributed to apoptotic signalling, execution and clearance – generating four articles in the Journal of Cell Science (2004, 2005, 2006, 2009a), including the first characterization of the formation and function a novel array of microtubules that control ER and chromatin remodelling in apoptotic cells. These studies highlight how cells retain the capacity to establish and coordinate large macromolecular complexes in the final stages of apoptotic execution.

More recently, I have become interested in molecules acting at the regulatory interface between apoptosis and the catabolic process of autophagy. My lab identified a caspase cleavage site in the autophagy protein, Atg4D, and demonstrated that cleavage stimulates Atg4D-mediated autophagy while lowering the apoptotic threshold (Journal of Cell Science 2009b). My lab then went on to demonstrate how caspase cleavage of Atg4D (and the related protein, Atg4C) exposes mitochondrial-targeting motifs that couple caspase activity with mitochondrial function in cultured cells and in primary human erythroid precursors (Autophagy 2012). This work was carried out in parallel with the first detailed, ultrastructural study of organelle remodelling and autophagy in ex vivo differentiated human erythroid cells – a study that highlights the ability of the lab, in collaboration with Verkade, to carry out careful, quantitative TEM analyses of dynamic membrane events (Autophagy, 2013). This year, my lab has published a study on how mitochondrial function influences Parkin-mediated mitophagy in human RPE1 cells and in MEFs (Journal of Cell Science 2014).

 

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School of Biochemistry

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School of Biochemistry staff