INTRODUCTION Meeting report: The 57th Annual Meeting of the CSMB, Membrane Proteins in Health and Disease1 Joseph R. Casey

The 57th Annual CSMB meeting and Conference on Membrane Proteins in Health and Disease was held 9–13 April 2014 at the Banff Centre, Banff Alberta. The meeting attracted 175 attendees from across Canada, United States, Germany, Ireland, U.K., Denmark, and Australia who heard talks from 29 leaders in the area of membrane protein biochemistry and cell biology. The meeting's organizing committee, consisting of members of the University of Alberta's Membrane Protein Disease Research Group plus Reinhart Reithmeier of University of Toronto and the CSMB Board, put together a program with seven plenary sessions (more below). In addition, the meeting featured nine short talks from speakers drawn from abstract submissions, as well as 86 posters, presented in two sessions. This packed meeting also included CSMB award lectures (more below), a presentation by Sylvie Roy of NSERC about funding opportunities and an Honorary Lecture from Reinhart Reithmeier. Did I mention that the weather cooperated and spring skiing was great, too? This meeting focused on the special group of “greasy” proteins that are embedded in membranes. These integral membrane proteins have distinct properties from soluble proteins, from their biosynthesis, to folding, degradation, structure, cellular roles, and the diseases caused upon their failure. This meeting covered all of these topics. The inspiring setting overlooking Banff and its mountains left meeting attendees in a receptive frame of mind and terrific discussions were heard in and out of meeting sessions.

Satellite meetings The main meeting was orbited by two satellite meetings, before the start of the main meeting. The first, organized by Joanne Lemieux (Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Alberta) featured six talks on the topic “Overcoming Barriers to Membrane Proteins Structure” and was attended by about 60 people. The second, organized by Larry Fliegel, Joe Casey, and Todd Alexander of University of Alberta, was on “pH Regulation at the Cell Surface”.

Keynote lecture The opening keynote lecture was given by Tom Rapoport of Harvard Medical School. Tom's artfully-presented talk “Mechanisms of protein transport across membranes” wonderfully set the stage for the whole meeting, with his detailed description of the events surrounding the birth of membrane proteins at the endoplasmic reticulum.

Honorary lecture Reinhart Reithmeier presented a very entertaining lecture, targeting trainees in the audience. The talk described Reinhart's very successful career and lessons he learned that have guided him along the way. Reinhart's lecture has now been published (Reithmeier 2014), for anyone wanting an interesting view of a thoughtful scientist's career. CSMB Award Lectures Janet Rossant (Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto) presented her Arthur Wynne Gold Medal lecture, “A Developmental Journey”, which highlighted her path to becoming one of the country's most celebrated scientists. Jeanne Manery Fisher Memorial Lectureship Award winner, Susan Lees-Miller (University of Calgary), presented the lecture “Structural and functional insights into the repair of radiation induced DNA damage”. James McGhee (University of Calgary) was awarded the NRC Press Senior Investigator Award, lecturing on the topic “Development and Aging in he C. elegans intestine.” The Robert Haynes Young Scientist in genetics awardee was François Bachand (Université de Sherbrooke), who presented a lively talk on “Nuclear surveillance of coding and non-coding transcriptomes.” John Rubenstein, GE Healthcare New Investigator Award winner, presented beautiful work on “Electron microscopy of rotary ATPases”.

Plenary sessions Novel insights from membrane protein structural biology This opening session made it clear what a huge growth area the structural biology of membrane proteins is. Natalie Goto (University of Ottawa) illustrated the benefits of NMR in studying membrane proteins. The next four talks strongly made the case that the era of X-ray crystallography of membrane proteins is finally upon us. Natalie Strynadka (University of British Columbia) beautifully laid out the bacterial cell wall biosynthetic pathway in a series of structures. Susan Buchanan (N.I.H.) provided structural insights in the biosynthesis of bacterial ␤-barrel proteins. Martin Caffrey (Trinity College, Dublin) gave a truly encouraging talk on crystallizing membrane proteins using lipidic mesophase. Alexander Cameron (University of Warwick) illustrated the power of structural biology in explaining protein mechanism. His talk used the structures of four different membrane transport proteins to illustrate commonality of transporter structure and how this links to transporter mechanism.

Received 29 September 2014. Revision received 29 September 2014. Accepted 29 September 2014. J.R. Casey. Department of Biochemistry and Membrane Protein Disease Research Group, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H7, Canada. E-mail for correspondence: [email protected]. This article is part of a Special Issue commemorating The Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences 57th Annual Meeting — Membrane Proteins in Health and Disease, held in Banff, Alberta, 9–13 April 2014.


Biochem. Cell Biol. 92: 425–426 (2014) dx.doi.org/10.1139/bcb-2014-0131

Published at www.nrcresearchpress.com/bcb on 30 October 2014.


Membrane protein biogenesis and folding Biosynthesis of membrane proteins is complex and distinct from soluble membrane proteins. Three talks provided the audience with a powerful update on the details of membrane protein biosynthesis and trafficking. Elizabeth Conibear (University of British Columbia) described the role of escort proteins and palmitylation in membrane protein trafficking, using elegant experiments in yeast. Together Johannes Herrmann (Technical University Kaiserslautern, Germany) and Richard Zimmerman (Saarland University) provided great detail on events at the endoplasmic reticulum during biosynthesis, focusing on luminal disulfide bond formation and detailed roles of SEC61 complex proteins, respectively. Molecular events in the immune response Nicolas Touret (University of Alberta) began the session with state of the art studies illustrating how fluorescent microscopy approaches can be used to track single molecule events in immune cell signaling. Sergio Grinstein (Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto) in crystal clear fashion described complex experiments following pH of organelles during phagosome activation. Robert Tampé (Biocenter of Goethe University, Germany) described multi-faceted experiments on the TAP transporter, responsible for loading the major histocompatibility antigen with peptide substrates. Bebhinn Treanor (University of Toronto) also described experiments using single particle tracking to study signaling in B cell activation. The many faces of calcium transport This session explained how the transport mechanisms controlling cytosolic and organellar calcium level, which provided a case study in the role of integral membrane proteins in controlling gradients across membranes. Howard Young (University of Alberta) explained the role of phospholamban (PLB) in regulating the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca++-ATPase and how defects in PLB cause disease. Veit Flockerzi (Saarland University, Germany) described recent studies of TRP Ca++ channels. Todd Alexander (University of Alberta) described his recent studies linking defects in Ca++ movement to development of kidney stones. Jutta Engel (Saarland University, Germany) highlighted the importance of calcium channels in signal transduction linked to hearing.

Biochem. Cell Biol. Vol. 92, 2014

There is nothing basic about pH regulation A case study in the roles of transport proteins in homeostatic regulation focused on pH regulatory transporters. Andrew Halestrap (University of Bristol, U.K.) provided a clear and complete review of monocarboxylate transporters. Christian Stock (University of Münster, Germany) described how distinct cell surface localization of pH regulatory transporters can lead to development of pH gradients in cells, with important roles in cell signaling. Danielle Johnson (Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto) provided further description of pH gradients established in cells by the – – plasma membrane Cl /HCO3 exchanger, AE1. Membrane proteins in need of therapy Mutations of membrane proteins are a common cause of human genetic disease. The difficult biosynthesis of membrane proteins leaves them especially vulnerable to misfolding from minor mutations. In this session Paul Linsdell (Dalhousie University) and John Hanrahan (McGill University) described their studies of CFTR, an ion channel protein whose mutations cause cystic fibrosis. Paul discussed conformational changes during the channel's gating and John described physiology bicarbonate secretion impacted in cystic fibrosis. Wayne Chen (University of Calgary) described studies of the massive ER calcium release channel, the ryanodine receptor, and how its mutations can lead to cardiac arrhythmia. William Balch (The Scripps Research Institute) picked up the theme of membrane protein mis-folding, describing the disease consequences of accumulation of misfolded proteins. Cool approaches in membrane biology Ending the meeting was a session on the latest approaches being applied to membrane proteins. Nevin Lambert (Georgia Regents University) described a clever and exciting approach to study organellar location of membrane proteins, using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET). John Rubenstein (University of Toronto) showed the progress he is making on understanding rotary ATPases, using cryo-electron microscopy. Philip Van Petegem (University of British Columbia) presented remarkable images of the structure of the 2.2 MDa ryanodine receptor. Michael Overduin (University of Birmingham) discussed new approaches to study membrane protein structure by NMR, including new detergents and new computational techniques.

Reference Reithmeier, R.A. 2014. Lessons from a red squirrel, mentors, and the pathway to success. Biochem. Cell Biol. 92. This issue. doi:10.1139/bcb-2014-0058.

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Meeting report: The 57th Annual Meeting of the CSMB, Membrane Proteins in Health and Disease.

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