CONICET PhD fellow
Director: Natalia Wilke
PhD Thesis Topic
Organizing and rheology of plasma membrane of unicellular organisms
The plasma membrane is highly specialized, regulates the selective flow of various molecules and serves as a platform for signaling complexes, so that each cell communicates with its neighbors and with the outside. To fulfill its functions, a dynamic and adjustable organization, selective and modulable permeability, and particular mechanical properties are fundamental.
As a result, our general objective is to understand how structure and organization are regulated, as well as the stability and permeation and deformation properties of cell membranes both in the plane and outside.
In order to do so, artificial models of membranes have been mostly used, with the advantage that these systems allow the systematic and controlled variation of the membrane composition and surrounding environment, but with the disadvantage that they are a hyper- simplification of the cell membrane. It is for this last reason that at the moment we also propose to study the behavior of membranes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Tetrahymena.
With this research we specifically intend to determine the organization of the species that make up the plasma membrane of these unicellular organisms, as well as the energy related to their deformation, analyzing mainly the effect of the presence / absence of sterols and hopanoids, or other modifications in their composition , as well as variations in the environment conditions.