Research Describes Missing Step in How Cells Move Their Cargo

Every time a hormone is released from a cell, every time a neurotransmitter leaps across a synapse to relay a message from one neuron to another, the cell must undergo exocytosis. This is the process responsible for transporting cellular contents via lipid-encapsulated vesicles to the cell surface membrane and then incorporating or secreting them through membrane fusion. Insights into this cellular cargo transport system won three Americans the Nobel Prize in 2013.

​​​​​​​Now, a study led by Wei Guo, a professor of biology, has identified a key activation mechanism that leads to vesicle fusion to the membrane.

“Knowing the steps of this process is important for many physiological processes: endocrinology, neurotransmission, immune response,” Guo says. “This was a fundamental question in cell biology.”

The work appears in the journal Nature Communications. Peng Yue, a former graduate student at Penn, was the study’s lead author. Kunrong Mei, Shaoxiao Wang and Yueyao Zhu of Guo’s lab were coauthors, along with the Medical University of Vienna’s Yubo Zhang, Johannes Lesigang and Gang Dong.

Click here to read the full story.

Arts & Sciences News

Psychology’s Thompson-Schill and Kahana Honored

Two Penn Arts and Sciences faculty members were recently honored with the Psychonomic Society Mid-Career Award, given for exceptional contributions to the field of experimental and cognitive psychology.

View Article >
John Lapinski to be named the Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor of Political Science

John Lapinski will be named the Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor of Political Science and the director of the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program effective July 1, 2018.

View Article >
Recipients of the 2018 Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students Announced

Eight graduate students from Penn Arts and Sciences to receive the prestigious award.

View Article >
Joseph S. Francisco Named President’s Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science

Joseph S. Francisco will join Penn as the President’s Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Chemistry, on July 1, 2018.

View Article >
Michael C. Horowitz Awarded Department of Defense Grant to Lead Team on Study of Autonomous Systems and AI

Michael C. Horowitz, Professor of Political Science, will oversee the study of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence.

View Article >
Earthquakes at the Nanoscale

In collaboration with Robert Carpick and David Goldsby, Tian, who graduated from Penn in 2017 with a doctorate in physics, recently published a paper in Physical Review Letters which attempts to tackle these devastating natural phenomena by investigating the laws of friction at the smallest possible scale, the nanoscale.

View Article >