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Protein Transport and Qualty Control

We study molecular mechanisms of protein translocation across membranes and related quality control pathways using biochemical and structural approaches

Many proteins move across cellular membranes during or soon after synthesis by ribosomes. In eukaryotes, more than one third of proteins are targeted to organelles, such as endoplasmic reticulum (ER), peroxisomes, mitochondria, and plastids, and translocated by protein-conducting channels or protein translocases. Protein translocation poses many fundamental biological questions, such as how channels selectively recognize their substrate proteins, how they translocate large polypeptides while maintaining the membrane barrier for small molecules and ions, and how they enable directional polypeptide movement. In addition to forward translocation, the channels and translocases also work together with protein quality control machineries to ensure proper targeting of proteins. However, the molecular mechanisms of these processes are poorly understood.

We aim to answer these important questions by a combination of structural, biochemical, and biophysical approaches. In particular, we are actively using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to elucidate high-resolution structures of these molecular machines in various functional states.

 

Current Research Topics

Endoplasmic Reticulum Protein Translocation

Mitochondrial Protein Import

Recent Publications

  • Tucker, K. and Park, E. (2019). Cryo-EM structure of the mitochondrial protein-import channel TOM complex at near-atomic resolution. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 26:1158-1166.
  • Itskanov S. and Park, E. (2019). Structure of the posttranslational Sec protein-translocation channel complex from yeast. Science. 363:84-87.

Our Team

Current Lab Members

Eunyong Park, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Eunyong received Ph.D. from Harvard and postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University. He joined the MCB department in 2018 as Assistant Professor. Eunyong is currently a Vallee Scholar.

Samuel Itskanov

Ph.D. candidate

Sam received his B.S. in Biochemistry from UCLA. He entered the Biophysics Ph.D. Program of UC Berkeley in 2017 and joined the lab in 2018.

Kyle Tucker

Ph.D. candidate

Kyle received B.S. from Lafayette College. He entered the MCB Ph.D. Program of Berkeley in 2017 and joined the lab in 2018. Kyle was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Sue Sim

Graduate student

Sue received her B.A. in Biochemistry and Classics from Bowdoin College. She entered the MCB Ph.D. Program of UC Berkeley in 2018 and joined the lab in 2019. Sue was awarded an NSF Graduate Research fellowship in 2020.

Yuanyuan Chen, Ph.D.

Postdoc associate

Yuanyuan received B.S. and M.S. in Biochemistry from Nanjing University and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Ohio State University. Yuanyuan joined the lab in 2019.

About the lab

Group Photo in 2019

We are a young lab in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biolgy (MCB) at UC Berkeley. Our lab opened in 2018 and has been slowly growing over the years. Although we are a small lab, we are a highly motived group of scientists and love to engage with challenging problems in biology and make new discoveries.

Our laboratory is located in Stanley Hall of UC Berkeley, the home of QB3 Berkeley. Founded in 1868, UC Berkeley has been on the frontier of science and engineering research. It ranks as one of top public universities in the world. Stanley Hall serves as the Berkeley hub for multidisciplinary research and teaching involving the biological sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Built in 2007, Stanley Hall houses 40 research laboratories for QB3 faculty affiliates and several support facilities including Berkeley Bay Area Cryo-EM facility (operating FEI Titan Krios and Talos Arctica microscopes)

Join Us

We are currently looking for highly motivated postdoctoral scholars who are interested in biochemistry and structural biology of membrane proteins. Prior training in biochemistry, cell biology, or structural biology is desirable. Applicants are expected to have at least one peer-reviewed first-author paper to demonstrate their research proficiency. Interested applicants should submit CV and cover letter to eunyong_park(at) berkeley.edu.

For graduate students: if you are interested in rotation, please contact Professor Eunyong Park to set up a meeting.

Park lab

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

University of California, Berkeley