Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology

First Advisor

Gia Voelt

Second Advisor

Brian DeDecker

Third Advisor

Amy Palmer


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the largest organelle within the cell and spans from the nuclear membrane to the cell periphery forming a network of sheets and tubules. The ER is very dynamic, and it is involved in many different cell functions such as protein and lipid synthesis along with cellular transport. The membrane of ER tubules comes into close contact and tethers to the membranes of other organelles without membrane fusion. These membrane contact sites (MCSs) play an important role in interorganelle exchange, organelle biogenesis, and dynamics. The Voeltz lab focuses on establishing the mechanisms and players involved in ER-MCSs. They discovered that ER tubules mark the position and timing of mitochondria and endosome fission. However, the molecular composition and many functions of these specific MCSs are still unknown. The lab recently identified a new player at ER-endosome MCSs, called multiple C2 domain and transmembrane region protein 2 (MCTP2). MCTP2 is a transmembrane protein with three C2 domains which are potential calcium and lipid binding domains, but has yet to have an unknown function. Using live cell confocal microscopy, in vitro protein purification, and biochemical approaches, we have started to characterize the major functions of MCTP2 within the cell. We have concluded that MCTP2 is not involved in cargo sorting, the N terminal is responsible for MCTP2 foci and MCTP2 does not transfer lipids.

Available for download on Sunday, April 07, 2024