Membrane Dynamics and Intracellular Trafficking




Themes and areas of research:

  • Cellular dynamics and signaling
  • Molecular and cellular pathologies
  • Quantitative biology and modeling


Group Leaders: Cathy JACKSON & Jean-Marc VERBAVATZ

Research Director CNRS / Professor, University of Paris

 +33 (0)157278004 /  +33 (0)157278004

cathy.jackson(at) / jean-marc.verbavatz(at)


Eukaryotic cells are characterized by their internal membrane compartments (organelles), which allow different cellular processes to take place in a well-adapted environment. However, in order for the cell to function as a whole, the various membrane-bound organelles, including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi apparatus, endosomes, lipid droplets, and mitochondria, as well as the plasma membrane, communicate through vesicular and non-vesicular trafficking (Jackson, Walch and Verbavatz, 2016; Kaczmarek, Verbavatz and Jackson, 2017; Jackson 2019). In vesicular trafficking, vesicles are transported from one compartment to their target, whereas non vesicular trafficking occurs at sites of close contact between organelles, named membrane contact sites (MCS), where the membranes of both organelles come together at a distance of 10-30 nm without fusing. Lipids can be transported by both vesicular and non-vesicular routes, but maintenance of the lipid composition of membranes requires lipid transfer at MCS (Jackson, Walch and Verbavatz, 2016). Disruption of lipid trafficking pathways leads to various human pathologies such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases, and these pathways are also subverted for the propagation of numerous viruses, including Hepatitis C and SARS-CoV-2.





Selected publications :


Jackson CL. Lipid droplet biogenesis. (2019) Curr Opin Cell Biol. 59:88-96. Review. doi: 10.1016/

Walch L, Pellier E, Leng W, Lakisic G, Gautreau A, Contremoulins V, Verbavatz M#, Jackson CL#. (2018) GBF1 and Arf1 interact with Miro and regulate mitochondrial positioning within cells. Scientific Reports 8(1):17121. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35190-0.  #co-corresponding authors

Copic A, Antoine-Bally S, Giménez-Andrés M, La Torre Garay C, Antonny B, Manni MM, Pagnotta S, Guihot J, Jackson CL. (2018) A giant amphipathic helix from a perilipin that is adapted for coating lipid droplets. Nat Commun. 9:1332. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03717-8.

Laband K, Le Borgne R, Edwards F, Stefanutti M, Canman JC, Verbavatz JM, Dumont J. (2017) Chromosome segregation occurs by microtubule pushing in oocytes. Nat Commun. 8:1499. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01539-8.

Jackson CL, Walch L, Verbavatz JM. (2016) Lipids and Their Trafficking: An Integral Part of Cellular Organization. Developmental Cell. 39(2):139-153 Review. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.09.030.

Petkovic M, Jemaiel A, Daste A, Specht CG, Izeddin I, Vorkel D, Verbavatz JM, Darzacq X, Triller A, Pfenninger KH, Tareste D,Jackson CL#,Galli T#. (2014) The SNARE Sec22b has a non-fusogenic function in plasma membrane expansion. Nature Cell Biology 16, 434–444. doi: 10.1038/ncb2937. #co-corresponding authors.