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PD Dr. Veit Riechmann

Membrane trafficking of cell-cell adhesion proteins

Control of exocytosis and endocytosis of cell-cell adhesion proteins is central for homeostasis of neuronal and epithelial cells.  We study the trafficking of E-cadherin and Fascilin2 in membrane vesicles using the epithelium of the Drosophila ovary as a model system.  We analyse protein trafficking in living epithelia and use genetic tools to identify pathways controlling exocytosis, endocytosis, sorting and degradation of membrane proteins.  Disturbances of these pathways compromise cell-cell adhesion and contribute to many disease processes including tumour metastasis.

One goal is to understand how E-cadherin and Fascilin2 are transported to the plasmamembrane after their translation.  The proteins are specifically targeted to the lateral membranes of the epithelium avoiding transport to the apical or basal membranes.  This polarised exocytosis is pivotal for epithelial polarity.  We also examine how E-cadherin and Fascilin2 are endocytosed and subsequently sorted within the endosomal system.  Internalised proteins are either recycling back to the lateral membrane or degraded in the lysosomal pathway.  We aim to understand how the differential regulation of these pathways contributes to epithelial morphogenesis, and how the misregulation of these pathways initiates disease processes.

National and international Joint Research Projects

Our research is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and by the Deutsche Krebshilfe.

Selected publications

Laiouar, S., Berns, N., Brech, A., and Riechmann V. (2020) RabX1 organizes a late Endosomal compartment that forms tubular connections to lysosomes consistent with a ‘‘Kiss and Run’’ Mechanism, Current Biology.

Woichansky, I., Beretta, C.A., Berns, N., and Riechmann, V. (2016). Three mechanisms control E-cadherin localization to the zonula adherens. Nature Communiations 7, 10834.

Berns, N., Woichansky, I., Friedrichsen, S., Kraft, N., and Riechmann, V. (2014). A genome-scale in vivo RNAi analysis of epithelial development in Drosophila identifies new proliferation domains outside of the stem cell niche. Journal of Cell Science 127, 2736-2748.

Gomez, J.M., Wang, Y., and Riechmann, V. (2012). Tao controls epithelial morphogenesis by promoting Fasciclin 2 endocytosis. Journal of Cell Biology 199, 1131-1143.