Who We Are, What We Study, and How We Study It
The O’Donnell lab is located in the Department of Biology at the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Our research focuses on the arrestin family of protein trafficking adaptors, that includes the widely-conserved but relatively unstudied α-arrestins. Work from our lab and others has shown that α-arrestins, like β-arrestins, regulate G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling. However, our studies further define a role for α-arrestins in unexpected trafficking pathways, including endosomal recycling and clathrin-independent endocytosis. We use to a combination of molecular, biochemical, genetic and advanced microscopy methods to define the molecular mechanisms underlying α-arrestin-mediated trafficking. Answering fundamental questions about arrestin function in yeast will expand our understanding of GPCR signaling and protein trafficking. As all of the α-arrestin-interacting partners identified in yeast are conserved in mammals, it is likely that analogous pathways exist in other eukaryotes. We are currently applying insights gained in our yeast model to initiate studies on the relatively unstudied mammalian α-arrestins.