Florian Fäßler, new research team leader specialized in cell architecture

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             Florian Fäßler joins the IGBMC and starts his own research team focused on the inner architecture of cells. Joining the Department of Integrated Structural Biology, the main objective of the Inserm researcher is to shed light  on how the ultrastructure of the endomembrane system, located in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells, is maintained. 

Studying the endomembrane system and its structure

The first project of Florian Fäßler’s team concerns the study of the Golgi apparatus. As part of the endomembrane system, the Golgi apparatus is responsible for modifying the glycosylation patterns (branched sugar chains) of proteins that pass through it.  If the organization of the Golgi apparatus is altered, a cellular phenotype of a wide variety of maladies, errors in glycosylation patterns occur much more frequently. Such errors can prevent proteins from fulfilling their role or render them malfunctional. The objective of the researcher is to shed light on how the organization of the Golgi apparatus  is maintained by the proteins surrounding it to guarantee its proper functionality.


In a second phase, Florian Fäßler's team will focus on visualizing the interface between the Golgi apparatus and the cytoskeleton to (ultra-) structurally describe the tug-of-war performed by actin- and microtubule-associated proteins positioning the Golgi apparatus to serve as a cue for cell polarity.
Knowledge gathered on these research lines will provide a better understanding of how the cell is able to form and maintain the complex architecture of organelles to uphold their functionality.
 Methodologically, the researcher's approach is centered around cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET). Combined with elaborate sample preparation techniques, this cryo-electron microscopy technique allows insight into the inner working of cells. Using a down-stream image-processing technique called subtomogram averaging (STA), Florian Fäßler's team will derive (sub-)nanometer resolution structures from proteins in their native environment.

Florian Fäßler, a researcher at the intersection of cell and structural biology

Florian Fäßler graduated with a PhD in cell biology in 2017, for his “In Vivo Analysis of Endocytic and Biosynthetic Transport to the Plant Vacuole” project, performed at the Center for Molecular Plant Biology in Tübingen, Germany. He then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Florian Schur’s team at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA), Austria, where he learned and applied cryo-ET and STA to determine sub-nanometer resolution structures of the actin cytoskeleton. In 2022, he obtained funding from Inserm via the freshly launched "Junior Professor Chair" program, allowing him to start his own research team at the IGBMC.
To learn more about Florian Fäßler’s previous work, you can read this article.