BBS Faculty Member - Luke Chao

Luke Chao

Department of Genetics

Massachusetts General Hospital
Simches Building, CPZN 6808
185 Cambridge St.
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-724-2323
Visit my lab page here.

Macromolecular assemblies at membranes control the biogenesis, maintenance and disassembly of organelles. We are interested in understanding how proteins assemblies determine the shape of micro-scale cellular structures by directly reconstituting their activities and visualizing the essential conformational changes they undergo. Our integrated biochemical/biophysical approach uses the latest advances in fluorescence microscopy and electron cryo-microscopy (Cryo-EM).

The major questions we seek to address include:

Kinetics of membrane rearrangement: Proteins that catalyze membrane rearrangement carefully time their coordinated activity in a manner tightly controlled by the cell’s metabolic state. How do multiple copies of these proteins cooperate? How are multi-membrane events organized in time and space? How are cellular cues integrated to regulate the activity of cellular membrane machineries?

Conformational state of membrane remodelers in cells: Membrane organization is determined by specific conformational rearrangements proteins undergo. What are the conformational states of these proteins in different sub-cellular contexts? How does higher-order organization of conformers influence organelle function? What are the molecular consequences of inter-organelle contacts and how do these effects influence membrane dynamics?

Compartmentalization by membrane-delineated organelles is essential for physiological specialization and often disrupted in disease. Our long-term goal is to generate sufficient molecular insight to write an instruction manual for building customized organelles.

Last Update: 12/15/2016


For a complete listing of publications click here.



© 2016 President and Fellows
of Harvard College