Metabolic co-operation in eukaryotes: when metabolic networks operate non-cell autonomously


  • Dr Markus Ralser

    The Francis Crick Institute

Project summary

Metabolism is vital for cell function. Recently, it was discovered that cells not only produce metabolites for themselves but can exchange them with others, sharing the metabolic workload.

I will study how and why cells exchange metabolites. I will define the panel of metabolites exchanged by cells growing together and what determines the flux of these metabolites between cells. It is thought that this metabolic exchange process will produce cellular heterogeneity which could influence cell survival, particularly in response to toxic challenges. This will be studied in the context of fungal infections and cancer to determine whether this system could be manipulated to help treat these diseases, for example to make cells more susceptible to antifungals. Yeast strains used in the biofuel, fermented beverage and food industries will also be studied to see whether modifications could be made to make these cells more productive.