It has become increasingly clear that eukaryotic cells have highly dynamic organelles. The four exciting sessions in the 2012 annual meeting’s organelle dynamics theme will highlight state-of-the-art approaches aimed at understanding how the dynamic behavior of organelles is linked to their functions. These sessions will focus on mitochondrial dynamics, organelle quality control, the organization of the secretory pathway and endomembrane system dynamics.
The first session will feature the mitochondrion as an organelle whose dynamic properties are central for its function. Jodi Nunnari (University of California, Davis) will discuss how the fusion and fission of mitochondria are regulated. Her group has developed in vitro assays that allow for the identification of regulatory factors.
David Chan (California Institute of Technology) is examining how the dynamic behavior of mitochondria regulates their function. Dysfunction of mitochondrial dynamics is associated with neurodegenerative disease. His group has developed mouse models to investigate the link between mitochondrial dynamics and cell physiology.
Hiromi Sesaki (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) will discuss the molecular mechanisms and physiological functions of mitochondrial fusion and fission.
Organelle quality control
The second session will focus on how cells ensure organellar integrity. Tamotsu Yoshimori (Osaka University) will discuss the longstanding debate concerning the origin of autophagosomes, which are unique, ad hoc organelles that form transiently. Recent results indicate the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria are involved in autophagosome biogenesis. Yoshimori also will describe how autophagosomes form to combat intracellular bacteria.