The main research theme of our laboratory is to understand molecular mechanisms of membrane trafficking in eukaryotic cells. Membrane traffic is important for a wide variety of cellular functions, such as growth, division, motility, differentiation, signal transduction etc. and thus is fundamental in life. A large number of studies have been performed in this field for decades, but to address very basic questions as to how thousands of proteins are sorted from each other in a cell and delivered to their collect destinations, our knowledge is still far insufficient. Membrane trafficking is very dynamic process of membranes, and it is amazing how the cells manage it.
To tackle many problems of dynamic membrane traffic, we have been trying to exploit the cutting edge of the light microscopy that enables live imaging of the players of traffic, organelles, vesicles, tubules and machineries, at extremely high resolutions both in space and time. We have developed a high-speed and super-resolution light microscopy named SCLIM (Super-resolution confocal live imaging microscopy). It is based on the combination of a high-speed spinning-disk confocal scanner and a high-speed, high-signal-to-noise-ratio, and ultrahigh-sensitivity camera system. The super-resolution is achieved by a new mathematical image-processing method we developed. The spatiotemporal resolutions are superior so that we can now track 4-dimensional behaviors of individual vesicles in a living cell.
We use as the experimental systems, the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and mammalian cultured cells and primary neurons.