A few of the projects running in the Almeida-Souza Lab.

The dynamic architecture of the endocytic cytoskeleton

The actin cytoskeleton is present at all endocytic stages. As the plasma membrane invaginates from a flat surface to a highly curved vesicle, the actin cytoskeleton has to co-adapt to these membrane geometries to give way to the budding pit and to provide pushing forces. We want to study what types of transformation the actin cytoskeleton undergoes and to define which proteins regulate each one of these steps.

Techniques: CRISPR/Cas9, Live cell imaging, Super-resolution microscopy.

The interplay between cargo properties and receptor identity in clathrin-mediated endocytosis

The participation of the actin cytoskeleton in clathrin-mediated endocytosis is highly variable. To understand the rules behind it, we will develop a system that will allow us to systematically test side-by-side how cargo characteristics, receptors type and cellular conditions affect actin requirement.

Techniques: Protein biochemistry, CRISPR/Cas9, Microscopy, FACS

FCHSD2 function in health and disease

The F-BAR protein FCHSD2 is a major activator of actin polymerisation in clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Importantly, this protein has been linked to a few diseases. Using our knowledge on the FCHSD2 biology we have developed an assay to screen for compounds capable to disrupt its function. A compound with such activity will allow us to further understand FCHSD2 function in health and disease.

Techniques: Protein biochemistry, Drug screening, Cellular assays, Crystallography