© Crédit Francesca Giordano 2019

Francesca GiordanoInstitut de Biologie Intégrative de la Cellule (I2BC) CNRS / CEA / Université Paris-Sud

Understanding lipid exchange at membrane contact sites

Mes recherches

 My research project aims to study how small molecules such as lipids are exchanged at inter-organelle membrane contact sites, by combining various imaging approaches including electron microscopy and both in situ and in vitro biochemical techniques. After a Ph.D. at the University of Naples Federico II in December 2007, and a first post-doc at Institut Curie in Paris in the group of Graca Raposo (2008-2011), I moved to USA for a second post-doc (2011-2013) in Pietro De Camilli’s lab, at Yale University in New Haven, to work in the emerging field of membrane contact sites. I identified the Extended-Synaptotagmins as the first conserved components of Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)-plasma membrane contact sites involved in lipid metabolism. In October 2013 I came back to Paris as Inserm CR researcher at Institut Jacques Monod and I obtained a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (CIG) and an ANR young researcher grant, to support my research in lipid trafficking and membrane contact sites. I discovered a novel localization and function of two proteins of the Oxysterol-binding related protein (ORPs) family at ER-mitochondria contact sites. In 2017, thanks to the ATIP-Avenir program I started my own lab at the I2BC, in Gif-sur-Yvette, where I continue my research in the lipid trafficking and membrane contact site field. My group is also supported by the Schlumberger Foundation for Education and Research (FSER).

Mon projet ATIP-Avenir

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and MITOCHONDRIA crosstalk mediated by novel components OF ER-mitochondria contact sites involved in lipid transfer

Non-vesicular lipid transport mediated by lipid transfer proteins (LTPs) at membrane contact sites (MCS) is emerging as a key mechanism to preserve the membrane identity of cellular organelles, especially in the case of mitochondria, that are not integrated into the classical vesicular routes. Mitochondria are essential for cellular homeostasis/bioenergetics and their functions require a constant and regulated exchange of lipids with the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER), the major site of lipid synthesis, through MCS. Deregulation of ER-Mitochondria MCS results in several pathologies including neurodegenerative disorders. However, we are just beginning to understand how these lipid transport processes occur, which components are involved and how they are regulated. My project aims to study the function of ER-Mitochondria MCS in lipid trafficking and how they impact on mitochondria morphology, function and dynamics by studying the role of two members of the Oxysterol-binding protein-related proteins family that we have recently found to localize at these MCS.