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Endocytosis and Endosome Trafficking: Roles in Coronavirus Uptake and Cell Signaling

live Date:
JULY 8, 2020

Duration:60 minutes

In this webinar, experts discuss how the COVID-19 virus uses receptor-mediated endocytosis to gain entry into host cells, how motor proteins guide endosomes and phagosomes from the cell surface to lysosomes, and how intracellular calcium buffering can be used to modulate cell signaling and calcium imaging. This webinar is brought to you by APS' new journal, Function, and part of our Physiology in Focus learning series.

Ole Petersen, CBE, FRS – Endocytic Uptake of SARS-CoV-2: The Critical Roles of pH, Ca2+ and NAADP
Very recent work shows that SARS-CoV-2 enters our cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis, dependent on an endosomal bafilomycin-sensitive proton pump as well as two-pore channels (TPCs). Physiological intracellular Ca2+ signals, mediated by the messenger nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP), depend on the very same proton pump and TPCs. Two hitherto completely separate research fields, namely molecular virology and cellular Ca2+ signaling physiology are now coming together, creating exciting new research opportunities.

Roop Mallik, PhD – Trafficking of Endosomes and Phagosomes: Geometry, Force and Cholesterol
Uptake of material from the external world by endocytosis/phagocytosis supplies nutrients to cells, and is also critical for cell signaling. The journey of endosomes/phagosomes begins at the cell periphery and ends at lysosomes near the cell center. I will discuss how the balance of forces generated by antagonistic motor proteins guides this journey, and how lipids are emerging as a master-controller of this balance.

Erwin Neher, FRS – Calcium Buffering
Researchers use calcium-chelators (buffers) to manipulate levels of free intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) and to shape Calcium signals. Unlike pH buffers, which are used to strictly control pH levels, calcium buffers inside a living cell may not influence the steady-state level of [Ca2+]i at all, but rather slow-down [Ca2+]i-changes induced either endogenously or by the experimenter. Such properties and their consequences on Ca2+-imaging will be discussed.

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Ole Petersen, CBE, FRS

Founding Editor-in-Chief


Ole Petersen, CBE, FRS, the founding editor-in-chief of Function, is a professor at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences in Wales. Petersen pioneered single channel current recordings in epithelial cells, discovering hormone-evoked, messenger-mediated ion channel activation and voltage-activation of epithelial ion channels. This led to the now generally accepted concept of how ion channels control exocrine fluid secretion.

Among Petersen’s accolades, he is an elected Fellow of The Royal Society and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He has been awarded Academia Europaea’s 2020 Gold Medal for Services to European Science.

Roop Mallik, PhD


Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Roop Mallik, PhD, is a professor at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s Department of Biological Sciences. Mallik is a biophysicist who specializes on nanoscale molecular motor proteins that transport materials, ranging from endosomes to viruses, within cells.

For his pioneering work, Mallik has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology in 2014 and Infosys Prize in 2018.

Erwin Neher, FRS

Director Emeritus – Membrane Biophysics

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

Erwin Neher, FRS, is professor emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany. Neher is a biophysicist who pioneered the patch clamp, the first device to measure the flow of electrical current through single-ion channels. Neher was appointed director of the Department of Membrane Biophysics in 1983 (through 2011) and three years later also became honorary professor at the Georgia Augusta.

He has received several awards, including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the highest honor awarded in German research. In 1991, Neher received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries regarding the function of individual ion channels in cells (together with Bert Sakmann).
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