The Center for Aging and Regeneration of the Catholic University of Chile, CARE Chile UC, researcher, Catalina Grabowski Pinto, participated in the Congress of the American Society for Cell Biology, ASCB, 2016, where she presented her doctoral dissertation work.

The PhD in Biological Sciences, Cellular and Molecular Biology, from the School of Biological Sciences UC, explained that “In a poster session, I presented the work of my doctoral dissertation, which consisted of characterizing an intracellular transport route using as model protein the delta opioid receptor expressed exogenously in epithelial cells with a polarized phenotype.”

Catalina-GrabowskiShe added, “We discovered that the opioid receptor is initially destined for the apical domain of the cells, but when activated with its agonist it is redistributed towards the basolateral pole following an inducible transcytosis pathway with an apical-basolateral direction that has not previously been described.

The Ph.D. specified that “In the congress, we showed that the opioid receptor from the apical pole travels in intracellular vesicles and that prior to its arrival in the basolateral domain, it passes through an intracellular compartment, called the “common recycling endosome. Unlike the reverse-directed (basolateral-apical) transcytosis pathway, this does not require the integrity of the cytoskeleton of the microtubule. However, it is sensitive to drugs that affect the dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton.”

When asked about the main conclusions of her presentations on the cellular biology, Catalina Grabowski explained that “The topics presented at the congress are very varied. What I liked most were those that showed results of high-resolution microscopes (STED, STORM, PALM). With this technology, we have been able to discover, for example, physical interactions between membranous organelles, evidencing a new level of communication within the cell.

Catalina-Grabowski_2The researcher highlighted the organization and approach of the congress. “I was very pleased that it was an event where not only high-level scientists gather but also promoted the participation of students and school teachers. I was struck by the space they gave to “non-academic” talks in which they taught about how to make an effective presentation to techniques for stress management; aspects that are both very relevant in our work,” said the Ph.D.

Asked about the importance of CARE researchers participating in this event, Dr. Grabowski said that “For any researcher it is very important to attend and participate in these types of events, and having access to the latest discoveries in their area of interest directly from the very discoverers is much more stimulating than reading it in some magazine.”

She added that “when attending this type of congress, you have the opportunity to share your work with relevant scientists and receive from them their opinions and comments.”