Giovanni Stefano

  • Plant Focus

Research Assistant Professor

Brandizzi Lab member

Research: Vesicular traffic in the secretory and endocytic pathways

Eukaryotic cells have a complex internal membrane system, which allows them to release macromolecules through the secretory pathway or to take up nutrients and signal molecules by a process called endocytosis. 

A plant cell

The secretory pathway is a highly conserved complex of endomembranes: the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the Golgi apparatus, Trans-Golgi Network (TGN), the vacuole, plasma membrane and vesicles in which there are cargo molecules transported between all these compartments. The endocytic pathway involves vesicles, which bud from the plasma membrane taking up membrane and soluble extracellular molecules moving via the endosome. Besides, recent results indicate that TGN can be considered as an integral part of the endocytic pathway. 

Endocytosis and exocytosis are two essential processes governing cell growth, cell fate, development, as well as cell-cell interactions and cell interactions with the external milieu. In addition, viruses, toxins and symbiotic microorganisms utilize the endocytic pathways to get inside the cell.