This project involves studying how and where cholesterol moves inside human cells and its effect on the function of certain proteins located in different organelles in the cell. The experiments will use microscopes to follow cholesterol and identify these proteins and their locations in cells.
Cholesterol is an important component of mammalian cell membranes. The ability of cells to deal with cholesterol has important implications for the treatment of heart disease and infection by certain pathogens. Impaired cholesterol trafficking plays a role in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's Disease and developmental defects. Students in Professor Cluett's lab are interested in the mechanisms and routes that cholesterol follows inside cells after its release from LDL particles. Their research focuses on the role of membrane tubules as a way to move cholesterol-rich membrane domains from one location to another in the cell.