The goal of my research is to identify the regulatory proteins that control vesicle transport in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in order to understand how underlying defects in protein and lipid trafficking contribute to human disease. Vesicle transport is required to switch off signaling receptors that would otherwise promote unregulated cell growth. Retrograde transport also carries signals that promote the continued survival of neurons, and defects in the machinery responsible for retrograde transport are believed to be a cause of motor neuron disease. Because vesicle transport processes are highly conserved, they can be studied in a very simple organism, and the findings applied directly to the study of human cells. Yeast genetics is therefore a powerful tool for the discovery of fundamental cellular mechanisms relevant to human health.


Competitive organelle-specific adaptors recruit Vps13 to membrane contact sites
Journal of Cell Biology
Björn D.M. Bean and Samantha K. Dziurdzik and Kathleen L. Kolehmainen and Claire M.S. Fowler and Waldan K. Kwong and Leslie I. Grad and Michael Davey and Cayetana Schluter and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201804111

The chaperone Chs7 forms a stable complex with Chs3 and promotes its activity at the cell surface
Sai T. Dharwada and Lauren E. Dalton and Björn D. M. Bean and Nirmala Padmanabhan and Catherine Choi and Cayetana Schluter and Michael Davey and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1111/tra.12553

Targeting the Ras palmitoylation/depalmitoylation cycle in cancer
Biochemical Society Transactions
David Tse Shen Lin and Nicholas G. Davis and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1042/bst20160303

Quantitative high-content imaging identifies novel regulators of Neo1 trafficking at endosomes
Molecular Biology of the Cell
Lauren E. Dalton and Björn D. M. Bean and Michael Davey and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e16-11-0772

Cargo selectivity of yeast sorting nexins
Björn D.M. Bean and Michael Davey and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1111/tra.12459

The alternate AP-1 adaptor subunit Apm2 interacts with the Mil1 regulatory protein and confers differential cargo sorting.
Molecular biology of the cell
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E15-09-0621
PubMed: 26658609

Enzymatic protein depalmitoylation by acyl protein thioesterases
Biochemical Society Transactions
David T.S. Lin and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1042/bst20140235

Rab5-family guanine nucleotide exchange factors bind retromer and promote its recruitment to endosomes
Molecular Biology of the Cell
B. D. M. Bean and M. Davey and J. Snider and M. Jessulat and V. Deineko and M. Tinney and I. Stagljar and M. Babu and E. Conibear
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e14-08-1281

ABHD17 proteins are novel protein depalmitoylases that regulate N-Ras palmitate turnover and subcellular localization
David Tse Shen Lin and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.7554/elife.11306

The alternate AP-1 adaptor subunit Apm2 interacts with the Mil1 regulatory protein and confers differential cargo sorting
Molecular Biology of the Cell
S. T. Whitfield and H. E. Burston and B. D. M. Bean and N. Raghuram and L. Maldonado-Baez and M. Davey and B. Wendland and E. Conibear
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e15-09-0621

Single point mutation in Rabenosyn-5 in a female with intractable seizures and evidence of defective endocytotic trafficking
Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Sylvia Stockler and Silvia Corvera and David Lambright and Kevin Fogarty and Ekaterina Nosova and Deborah Leonard and Robert Steinfeld and Cameron Ackerley and Casper Shyr and Nicolas Au and Kathrin Selby and Margot van Allen and Hilary Vallance and Ron Wevers and David Watkins and David Rosenblatt and Colin J Ross and Elizabeth Conibear and Wyeth Wasserman and Clara van Karnebeek
DOI: 10.1186/s13023-014-0141-5

The palmitoyl acyltransferase HIP14 shares a high proportion of interactors with huntingtin: implications for a role in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease
Human Molecular Genetics
Stefanie L. Butland and Shaun S. Sanders and Mandi E. Schmidt and Sean-Patrick Riechers and David T.S. Lin and Dale D.O. Martin and Kuljeet Vaid and Rona K. Graham and Roshni R. Singaraja and Erich E. Wanker and Elizabeth Conibear and Michael R. Hayden
DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddu137

Large-Scale Analysis of Membrane Transport in Yeast Using Invertase Reporters
Membrane Trafficking
Lauren Dalton and Michael Davey and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2309-0_27

Vesicle and organelle formation: making connections
Molecular Biology of the Cell
E. Conibear and B. J. Nichols
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e12-12-0875

Interaction landscape of membrane-protein complexes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Mohan Babu and James Vlasblom and Shuye Pu and Xinghua Guo and Chris Graham and Björn D. M. Bean and Helen E. Burston and Franco J. Vizeacoumar and Jamie Snider and Sadhna Phanse and Vincent Fong and Yuen Yi C. Tam and Michael Davey and Olha Hnatshak and Navgeet Bajaj and Shamanta Chandran and Thanuja Punna and Constantine Christopolous and Victoria Wong and Analyn Yu and Gouqing Zhong and Joyce Li and Igor Stagljar and Elizabeth Conibear and Shoshana J. Wodak and Andrew Emili and Jack F. Greenblatt
DOI: 10.1038/nature11354

Vesicle Transport: Springing the TRAPP
Current Biology
Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.05.045

VPS35 Mutations in Parkinson Disease
The American Journal of Human Genetics
Carles Vilariño-Güell and Christian Wider and Owen A. Ross and Justus C. Dachsel and Jennifer M. Kachergus and Sarah J. Lincoln and Alexandra I. Soto-Ortolaza and Stephanie A. Cobb and Greggory J. Wilhoite and Justin A. Bacon and Bahareh Behrouz and Heather L. Melrose and Emna Hentati and Andreas Puschmann and Daniel M. Evans and Elizabeth Conibear and Wyeth W. Wasserman and Jan O. Aasly and Pierre R. Burkhard and Ruth Djaldetti and Joseph Ghika and Faycal Hentati and Anna Krygowska-Wajs and Tim Lynch and Eldad Melamed and Alex Rajput and Ali H. Rajput and Alessandra Solida and Ruey-Meei Wu and Ryan J. Uitti and Zbigniew K. Wszolek and François Vingerhoets and Matthew J. Farrer
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.06.001

Organization and Assembly of the TRAPPII Complex
Catherine Choi and Michael Davey and Cayetana Schluter and Preet Pandher and Yuan Fang and Leonard J. Foster and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2011.01181.x

Palmitoylation and depalmitoylation dynamics at a glance
Journal of Cell Science
Elizabeth Conibear and Nicholas G. Davis
DOI: 10.1242/jcs.059287

Converging views of endocytosis in yeast and mammals
Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1016/j.ceb.2010.05.009

Identification of the Novel TRAPP Associated Protein Tca17
Ben Montpetit and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2009.00895.x

Regulators of yeast endocytosis identified by systematic quantitative analysis
The Journal of Cell Biology
Helen E. Burston and Lymarie Maldonado-Báez and Michael Davey and Benjamen Montpetit and Cayetana Schluter and Beverly Wendland and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200811116

The Endocytic Pathway
Trafficking Inside Cells
Elizabeth Conibear and Yuen Yi C. Tam
DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-93877-6_4

Discovery and Expansion of Gene Modules by Seeking Isolated Groups in a Random Graph Process
Jochen Brumm and Elizabeth Conibear and Wyeth W. Wasserman and Jennifer Bryan
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003358

An endocytic mechanism for haemoglobin-iron acquisition inCandida albicans
Molecular Microbiology
Ziva Weissman and Revital Shemer and Elizabeth Conibear and Daniel Kornitzer
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06277.x

Global Analysis of Yeast Endosomal Transport Identifies the Vps55/68 Sorting Complex
Molecular Biology of the Cell
C. Schluter and K. K.Y. Lam and J. Brumm and B. W. Wu and M. Saunders and T. H. Stevens and J. Bryan and E. Conibear
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e07-07-0659

Evaluation of the Golgi trafficking protein VPS54 (wobbler) as a candidate for ALS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Miriam H. Meisler and Carsten Russ and Kate T. Montgomery and Matthew Greenway and Sean Ennis and Orla Hardiman and Denise A. Figlewicz and Nicole R. Quenneville and Elizabeth Conibear and Robert H. Brown
DOI: 10.1080/17482960801934403

Genome-Wide Analysis of Membrane Transport Using Yeast Knockout Arrays
Membrane Trafficking
Helen E. Burston and Michael Davey and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-59745-261-8_3

Molecular Architecture and Functional Model of the Complete Yeast ESCRT-I Heterotetramer
Michael S. Kostelansky and Cayetana Schluter and Yuen Yi C. Tam and Sangho Lee and Rodolfo Ghirlando and Bridgette Beach and Elizabeth Conibear and James H. Hurley
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.03.016

Palmitoylation by the DHHC protein Pfa4 regulates the ER exit of Chs3
The Journal of Cell Biology
Karen K.Y. Lam and Michael Davey and Beimeng Sun and Amy F. Roth and Nicholas G. Davis and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200602049

Toward the Systems Biology of Vesicle Transport
Nicole R. Quenneville and Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2006.00436.x

Domains within the GARP Subunit Vps54 Confer Separate Functions in Complex Assembly and Early Endosome Recognition
Molecular Biology of the Cell
N. R. Quenneville
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e05-11-1002

An E-MAP of the ER
Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2005.10.016

Ykt6p Is a Multifunctional Yeast R-SNARE That Is Required for Multiple Membrane Transport Pathways to the Vacuole
Molecular Biology of the Cell
Y. Kweon
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e02-10-0687

An ESCRT into the Endosome
Molecular Cell
Elizabeth Conibear
DOI: 10.1016/s1097-2765(02)00601-9

Studying yeast vacuoles
Guide to Yeast Genetics and Molecular and Cell Biology Part C
Elizabeth Conibear and Tom H. Stevens
DOI: 10.1016/s0076-6879(02)51861-9

Vps51p Mediates the Association of the GARP (Vps52/53/54) Complex with the Late Golgi t-SNARE Tlg1p
Molecular Biology of the Cell
E. Conibear
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e02-10-0654

Vps52p, Vps53p, and Vps54p Form a Novel Multisubunit Complex Required for Protein Sorting at the Yeast Late Golgi
Molecular Biology of the Cell
E. Conibear and T. H. Stevens
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.11.1.305

Identification of Rgp1p, a novel Golgi recycling factor, as a protein required for efficient localization of yeast casein kinase 1 to the plasma membrane
Journal of Cell Science

Multiple sorting pathways between the late Golgi and the vacuole in yeast
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Cell Research
Elizabeth Conibear and Tom H Stevens
DOI: 10.1016/s0167-4889(98)00058-5

Vacuolar biogenesis in yeast: Sorting out the sorting proteins
Elizabeth Conibear and Tom H. Stevens
DOI: 10.1016/0092-8674(95)90088-8

Golgi and vacuolar membrane proteins reach the vacuole in vps1 mutant yeast cells via the plasma membrane
The Journal of Cell Biology
S. F. Nothwehr
DOI: 10.1083/jcb.129.1.35

A chimera of the cytoplasmic tail of the mannose 6-phosphate/IGF-II receptor and lysozyme localizes to the TGN rather than prelysosomes where the bulk of the endogenous receptor is found
Journal of Cell Science

Specificity of binding of clathrin adaptors to signals on the mannose-6-phosphate/insulin-like growth factor II receptor
The EMBO Journal
PubMed: PMC400912


Current Project
Vesicle traffic is regulated by factors that select cargo for incorporation into a forming vesicle and direct its docking and fusion with the appropriate target membrane. The machinery that controls transport between two intracellular compartments - the endosome and the trans-Golgi network - is of particular interest because these compartments act as relay stations, directing a large number of different sorting events. We have used a genetic approach in the yeast model system to identify four components of a conserved protein complex (GARP: Golgi-associated retrograde protein complex) that directs the targeting of transport vesicles with the trans-Golgi network. We are currently using genetic, cell biological and biochemical techniques to analyze the interactions that link this vesicle targeting complex to other components of the membrane fusion machinery.

Recent advances in genome-wide phenotypic screening in yeast, combined with powerful bioinformatics analyses, hold great promise for the rapid and comprehensive identification of novel multi-subunit complexes. Functional genomics is expected to uncover most of the genes required for the trafficking of proteins and lipids through Golgi and endosomal compartments. In genome-wide screens, we have identified sets of genes likely to act together at common regulatory steps in protein sorting. We are now using biochemical/cell biological assays to characterize interacting proteins and analyze their role in protein and lipid trafficking in detail. Tackling a problem at many different levels - from genome-wide discovery studies in yeast, to the biochemical and cell biological characterization of specific protein complexes, to the investigation of homologous proteins in mammalian cells - allows an in-depth analysis of protein function and ensures that discoveries made in a simple model organism are efficiently translated to the study of medically relevant processes in mammalian cells.


Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant, 2013

Honours & Awards

UBC Killam Teaching Prize, 2014

Research Group Members

Michael Davey, Research Asst/Tech 4
Samantha Dziurdzik, Doctoral Student
Sydney Holme, Graduate Student
Kevin Jeffers, Graduate Student
Anson Law, Undergraduate Student
Brooks Perkins-Jechow, Worklearn Student
Omer Riyadh, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Shawn Shortill, Graduate student in Medical Genetics
Vaishnavi Sridhar, Graduate Research Assistant
Kira Tosefsky, Undergraduate Student
Sarah Truong, Research Assistant