School of Life Sciences
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Alistair Hume

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Research Summary

Cells are fundamental units of the body and their correct function is vital for our health and survival. My research focuses on understanding how cells organise the complex array of internal… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

Cells are fundamental units of the body and their correct function is vital for our health and survival. My research focuses on understanding how cells organise the complex array of internal structures (organelles) whose activities are vital for their function and how defects in these processes cause disease. In particular I am interested in the mechanism by which organelles are transported within the cell and the role played by motor proteins, that move organelles along intracellular protein tracks known as the cytoskeleton, and molecular switches (Rab proteins) that recruit motors to organelles. To address these issues I use melanosomes in skin melanocytes as a model. Several characteristics make this an ideal system for the study of intracellular transport. Firstly melanosomes are large highly motile organelles easily visible by bright-field microscopy. Secondly melanocytes are large, flat, adherent cells that are easily derived and maintained, and transfectable with plasmids and siRNA. Finally a large number of immortal mouse melanocyte cell lines are available that differ in melanosome colour, size and motility. Current interests include: The identification of molecular motors regulating melanosome transport. Understanding the mechanism(s) targeting Rab GTPases to organelle membranes. The development of Rab inhibitors. The contribution of receptor trafficking defects in disease.

Future Research

PhD opportunities October 2013. A BBSRC funded 4 year PhD studentship entitled 'Understanding the regulation of cancer associated protein Rab27' will be available within the group. This project aims to understand the role played the Rab27-specific GDP/GTP exchange factor in regulating both the activation and subcellular targeting of Rab27. Further details of the project are available on request.

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

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