William T. Wickner, MD
Professor of Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School, MD 1973Yale University, BA 1967
Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Programs
Dartmouth Medical School
Hanover NH 03755
Regulated fusion of membranes is essential for biological processes as diverse as neurotransmission, cell growth, and hormone secretion. The fundamental mechanism has been conserved among all membranes that fuse and all organisms, from yeast to humans. We study the fusion of yeast vacuoles for its unparalleled technical advantages: 1. The organelle can be purified and stored in quantity. 2. We have a rapid, colorimetric assay of in vitro vacuole fusion. 3. The superb genetics and genomics of this organism. Our studies combine structural, genetic, and enzymological approaches, and are leading to a molecular understanding of this basic process.
Wickner, W. and Haas, A. (2000). Yeast Vacuole Fusion: A Window on Organelle Trafficking Mechanisms. Ann. Rev. Biochem. 69, 247-275.
Ungermann, C., Sato, K. and Wickner, W. (1998) Defining the functions of trans- SNARE pairs. Nature 396, 543-548.
Eitzen, G., Will, E., Gallwitz, D., Haas, A., and Wickner, W. (2001). Sequential action of two GTPases to promote vacuole docking and fusion. EMBO J. 19, 6713-6720.