Annual Meeting

The era of “smart” organelles

A Discover BMB symposium: Organelles, Mechanisms and Phase Properties of Cellular Quality Control
W. Mike Henne Cheryl A. Kerfeld
By W. Mike Henne and Cheryl A. Kerfeld
Sept. 28, 2022

Organelles are the fundamental units of cellular organization, and our understanding of their roles in cell physiology has evolved dramatically since they first were described in the early 20th century. Though organelles originally were thought of as simple compartments for biochemical reactions and confined to eukaryotes, new studies have revealed “smart” roles for them in fine-tuning metabolism as well as serving as platforms coordinating signaling and quality-control pathways in both bacteria and eukaryotes.

Recent work illuminates the organizational principles governing how organelles cleverly coordinate cell quality control. These reveal how organelles create microenvironments for metabolic pathways, how they facilitate interorganelle communication to sense and respond to specific cues, and how the phase properties of lipids and proteins equip organelles to protect cells from stress and maintain organismal homeostasis.

Our symposia at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s annual meeting, Discover BMB, in Seattle in March illustrate these themes and feature work in an array of fields, including prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell biology, cancer biology, and phase separation biophysics.

Just like in the song “Whatever It Takes” by Imagine Dragons, organelles are equipped to do whatever is necessary for cells to adapt and survive the ever-present challenges of life.

Keywords: Bacterial microcompartments, interorganelle communication, protein and lipid phase separation, mitochondrial metabolism.

Who should attend: Anyone interested in learning how organelles are constructed, organized and responsive to signals. Also people interested in the phase properties of proteins and lipids in organelle biology.

Theme song: “Whatever It Takes” by Imagine Dragons.

The session is powered by lipids, proteins and cellular stress.

Speakers

Bacterial organelles
Luning LuUniversity of Liverpool
Danielle Tullman–ErcekNorthwestern University
Cheryl Kerfeld (chair), Michigan State University
Arash KomelliUniversity of California, Berkeley

Phase separation in organelle structure and function
W. Mike Henne (chair), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
David SavageUniversity of California, Berkeley/Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Martin JonikasPrinceton University
Alex MerzUniversity of Washington School of Medicine

Inter-organelle communication
Rushika Perera (chair), University of California, San Francisco
Karin ReinischYale University
Laura LacknerNorthwestern University
Sarah CohenUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Enjoy reading ASBMB Today?

Become a member to receive the print edition monthly and the digital edition weekly.

Learn more
W. Mike Henne
W. Mike Henne

W. Mike Henne is an assistant professor in the department of cell biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. His lab studies lipid droplets and the organization of metabolism in cells.

Cheryl A. Kerfeld
Cheryl A. Kerfeld

Cheryl A. Kerfeld is a researcher at the US Department of Energy Plant Research Lab and a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University.

Related articles

Living in a bubble
Y. Jessie Zhang & Ivaylo Ivanov
From the journals: JBC
Ken Farabaugh
From the journals: MCP
Renae Crossing
From the journals: JLR
Meric Ozturk

Get the latest from ASBMB Today

Enter your email address, and we’ll send you a weekly email with recent articles, interviews and more.

Latest in Science

Science highlights or most popular articles

Drugs of the future will be easier and faster to make, thanks to mRNA
News

Drugs of the future will be easier and faster to make, thanks to mRNA

Feb. 25, 2024

But researchers still have to work out a few remaining kinks.

Mouse model may help explain, treat infertility
Journal News

Mouse model may help explain, treat infertility

Feb. 24, 2024

Discovering how sperm begin the fertilization process could also identify new targets for nonhormonal contraceptives.

AI harnesses tumor genetics to predict treatment response
News

AI harnesses tumor genetics to predict treatment response

Feb. 18, 2024

Many paths lead to cancer resistance; artificial intelligence can decode them all simultaneously.

Progression of ALS linked to a membrane and an enzyme
News

Progression of ALS linked to a membrane and an enzyme

Feb. 17, 2024

Diminished activities of the enzyme TBK1 in mitochondrial-associated membrane reduces motor neurons’ tolerance to stressors, a causative factor in the disease.

From the journals: JLR
Journal News

From the journals: JLR

Feb. 16, 2024

Breaking down atherosclerotic plaque. Location matters in liver disease. A lipidomic profile drives liver disease. Read about recent papers on these topics.

Sibling study reveals mechanism for genetic disease
Journal News

Sibling study reveals mechanism for genetic disease

Feb. 13, 2024

Using proteomics experiments, researchers found that old proteins pile up in the mitochondria of people with a form of adult-onset muscular dystrophy.