Liposomes, exosomes and virosomes. Learning lots in a beautiful place.


photo credit: Luca Monticelli


Day 1 –September 12, 2016 (starting with yesterday’s evening lecture) has covered a wide variety of questions and approaches). I have highlighted some of the things shared by the speakers.

Steve Boxer made us all think late in the day about some of the weirdest molecules I have seen: ladderenes and their surprisingly lipid like properties.

Kalina Histrova proposed a new paradigm for Tyrosine kinase receptor signaling using intrinsic FRET in plasma membrane vesicles from apoptotic cells to determine that ligand binding is not required for dimerization but increases the activation.

Dimitrios Stamou showed the heterogeneity of vesicles with proton transporters at the single vesicle level, where one transporter function is observed with bulk fluorescence inside the vesicle.

Kirsten Bacia showed the COPII vesicles and tubules in GTP non-hydrolyzing and  hydrolyzing conditions and reminded us that the way we define synthetic membranes depends on the context of our work.

Shirley Schreier illustrated the differences between the interactions between micelles and bilayers and the specificity that bilayers have for the type of lipids within it.

Helen Saibil showed us that pore forming proteins could be deadly yet beautiful like flowers and that the key to the conformational change may not be in the place where the change is happening.

Don Engelman walked us through a biophysics to bedside transmembrane peptide that pHLIPs and has the potential for imaging and drug deliver

Philippe Bastiens gave us the philosophical perspective of interdependence and recursion by comparing the interdependence of receptors (EphR and EGFR) with opposite functions (activation or inhibition of Erk and AKT). A big lesson of asking the question that gives you an answer that changes the question.

Jean-Marie Ruysschaert showed us how to turn ‘a mistake’ into the amazing discovery of how a cationic lipid can activate Toll like receptor-4 and the biochemical basis of this lipid activation. Moreover, he proposes that TLRs are the Swiss army knife of immunity, activated by a variety of materials.

Marta Bally showed her studies on influenza virus A and C matrix protein 1 going over the structure of the domains, its binding to bilayers and giant unilamellar vesicles and its ability to form protein rings without lipid.

Martin Hof presented an elegant and comprehensive study of the role of sphingomyelin and gangliosides on the formation of Alzheimer’s beta peptide oligomerization.

The discussion has been very engaging, with excellent questions. Andrea, my fellow thematic meetign blogger in Ascona,  presented during the Poster session today. It was a hot, humid afternoon and the several fans in the room were not enough, but nevertheless, the poster session interactions were quite lively.


-Marina Ramirez-Alvarado


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