An Interview with David Drubin in Biowire

The May 2012 edition of Biowire, a publication of Sigma-Aldrich, includes an interview with David Drubin about the projects in our lab looking at clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) in mammalian cells using zing finger nuclease (ZFN) technology to undertake targeted genome modification. Traditionally, CME has been studied in cells in which fluorescently-tagged components of endocytic machinery are overexpressed using exogenous constructs. Data obtained in many labs using these methods suggested that CME was highly variable. Using ZFN technology, in collaboration with Sangamo Biosciences, our lab recently showed that CME is robust and efficient in mammalian cells.  The new results highlight the technical advantages of tagging genes at their endogenous loci, an approach that has been historically limited to genetically tractable organisms, such as the Drubin/Barnes Lab favorite Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast).  Emerging technologies, such as ZFNs and TALENs, however, are now making this sort of precise genomic manipulation possible in animal cells, including human cells, giving us new and powerful ways of studying cellular biology.

Cellular processes should be studied as close to their natural states as possible. I suspect that, as we see more uses of zinc finger nucleases [for tagging endogenous genes], people will find that they have been inadvertently perturbing the processes that they have been studying.

David Drubin (Biowire, May 2012)

Journal Club on Monday, April 30

For our next Journal Club, Rebecca Lu will present the following paper:

Membrane Fission Is Promoted by Insertion of Amphipathic Helices and Is Restricted by Crescent BAR Domains. Boucrot E, Pick A, Camdere G, Liska N, Evergren E, McMahon HT, Kozlov MM.  Cell. 2012 Mar 30;149(1):124-36. PMID: 22464325.

Lillie joined the Drubin/Barnes Lab!

The Drubin/Barnes Yeast and HeLa Cell Manufacturing Company is excited to welcome Lillie Cohn as a new graduate student in the lab!  Lillie is a first year in the Molecular and Cell Biology program at UC-Berkeley.  Her proposed thesis project is “The Meaning of Life.”  On this occasion, let us pause to consider these wise words of the sage Philosoraptor:

Rebecca Lu is qualified!

The Drubin/Barnes Lab would like to congratulate Rebecca Lu who passed her qualifying exam on Wednesday, April 18!

Here we recount the epic saga of Rebecca’s Ph.D qualification:

After she wrote her proposal, her chair asked her to rewrite it.  Rebecca is smarter than Randy Schekman though.  She just made a copy.

Rebecca brought food for her committee, and Doug Koshland said, ‘I’m gonna have a donut.  Does anyone want one?’ That’s when Rebecca realized that a Qualifying Exam is like some weird quiz where your committee reveals the answers before asking their questions.

During Rebecca’s exam, her committee didn’t ask her a question for 30 minutes.  That would have been a REALLY long question, after all.

Rebecca closed her eyes a lot during her Qual.  She wasn’t sleeping.  She just drew a picture of Randy handing her the Nobel Prize on the back of her eyelids.

You can’t please all the people all the time.  Fortunately, all those people weren’t at Rebecca’s Qualifying Exam.

When her exam was over, Randy said, “Guess what.  You passed.”  Rebecca told Randy, “Dude, you gotta give me time to guess.  If you’re gonna quiz me, you must insert a pause in there.”

Akemi Kunibe was the last grad student in the Drubin/Barnes Lab to pass her Qual.  She’s smart.  She was a tough act to follow.  Rebecca will be an especially hard act to follow, cuz when she finished her Qual, she took all of the dry-erase markers with her.

Rebecca doesn’t know the meaning of the word “fail.”  And that is kinda worse than not passing in a way, if you think about it.  She’s a Ph.D candidate, but she still doesn’t understand simple words.

Congratulations Rebecca Lu!  And thank you Mitch Hedberg for the jokes!

Journal Club on Monday, April 16

For our next Journal Club, Christa Cortesio will present the following paper:

Distinct and separable activities of the endocytic clathrin-coat components Fcho1/2 and AP-2 in developmental patterning.  Umasankar PK, Sanker S, Thieman JR, Chakraborty S, Wendland B, Tsang M, Traub LM.  Nat Cell Biol. 2012 Apr 8. doi: 10.1038/ncb2473. PMID: 22484487.

Journal Club on Monday, April 2

For our next Journal Club, Sun Hae Hong will present the following paper:

Influence of synaptic vesicle position on release probability and exocytotic fusion mode.  Park H, Li Y, Tsien RW.  Science.  2012 Mar 16;335(6074):1362-6.  PMID: 22345401.

Journal Club on Monday, February 6

For our next Journal Club, Jasper Weinberg will be presenting the following paper:

A molecular switch on an arrestin-like protein relays glucose signaling to transporter endocytosis.  Becuwe M, Vieira N, Lara D, Gomes-Rezende J, Soares-Cunha C, Casal M, Haguenauer-Tsapis R, Vincent O, Paiva S, Léon S.  J Cell Biol. 2012 Jan 23;196(2):247-59.  PMID: 22249293