Dr. Anne Wuttke
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Dr. Anne Wuttke studies the role of the endosomal system in liver physiology. Cells are delimited by a membrane, which is equipped with channels, transporters and receptors to allow controlled information and material exchange with its surroundings. Channels and transporters make the membrane permissive for certain substances and receptors allow for information propagation after binding of extracellular clues. However, the setup is not static: small fractions of the outer membrane constantly invaginate and bud off. The resulting vesicles contain a portion of the transporters or receptors, which previously resided on the plasma membrane. They enter the endosomal system, which is a highly dynamic network of constantly fusing and splitting intracellular vesicles. Through this, the vesicular content is sorted and either recycled back to the outer membrane or routed towards degradation, allowing the cell to adjust its communication toolkit with its surrounding.
This basic cell biological process has been extensively studied in single cell systems; it is, however, particularly important for cells in a tissue-context and upon changing metabolic demand. Both holds true for hepatocytes – the main cell type of the liver. Therefore I am studying the role of the endosomal system in liver physiology, which should provide insights into disease mechanisms.