The interplay between proteins and membrane lipids is central to almost every aspect of cell biology. This laboratory is interested in fundamental questions of how the interactions between proteins and membranes determine cell and organelle shape and the evolution of shape over time, how protein-membrane interactions turn on and off the signals that control essential cell processes, and how pathogens such as HIV-1 subvert and co-opt these interactions. They currently focus on (1) autophagy and lysosomes, (2) ESCRT proteins and their role in virus release, and (3) coated vesicle traffic and its subversion by HIV. The major tools used in the lab are cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) and fluorescence microscopy of reconstituted membrane systems.
Research Expertise and Interest
Structural Biology, reconstitution, membrane biology, autophagy, HIV, x-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy
January 12, 2021
Biologists used crystallography performed at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source to reveal the new virus’s unusual protein structure.
September 16, 2020
Two new grants totaling nearly $14 million over three years will jump-start research at UC Berkeley into the molecular and genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that afflicts more than 1 million Americans, yet whose cause remains a mystery.
April 29, 2020
Chemist Dean Toste, biochemist James Hurley and astrophysicist Eliot Quataert are the latest University of California, Berkeley, faculty members elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a group that has provided policy guidance to the U.S. government since 1863.
August 22, 2019
For hundreds of thousands of years, monkeys and apes have been plagued by simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which still devastates primate groups in Africa. Luckily, as humans evolved from these early primates, we picked up a mutation that made us immune from SIV — at least until the early 20th century, when the virus evolved to get around our defenses, giving rise to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and an AIDS pandemic that today affects an estimated 38 million people worldwide. University of California, Berkeley, researchers have now discovered how that long-ago human mutation interfered with SIV infection, a finding that could provide clues for the development of new therapies to thwart HIV and similar viral infections.
January 17, 2017
The Bakar Fellows Program supports James Hurley’s research to develop a drug that can help neurons and other cells clear out debris – a process essential for cell survival.