Derek Prosser

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Membrane biology
Vesicular trafficking
Yeast genetics


I am a cell biologist and geneticist whose research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms of cargo sorting, vesicular trafficking, and cytoskeletal dynamics in eukaryotic cells. Cargo molecules must be appropriately packaged into vesicles that bud from a donor compartment and fuse with the correct target organelle, and the cytoskeleton can provide structural support to facilitate membrane bending and scission during vesicle formation, as well as transport of vesicles within the cytoplasm. I use yeast genetics to study trafficking within the endocytic pathway, with particular emphasis on understanding a newly-identified pathway for clathrin-independent endocytosis.

Mutations in trafficking-related genes are linked to a variety of diseases in humans, including neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Lou Gehrig’s disease), which is an additional focus of research in my lab. I have developed yeast models of ALS that recapitulate the disease at a cellular level, and am using these as tools to identify genes that can suppress ALS-related phenotypes. The aim of this project is to identify potential targets for development of novel therapeutic approaches.

Derek Prosser earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Ottawa in 2008. He then completed postdoctoral studies in Beverly Wendland’s laboratory at The Johns Hopkins University before joining the Department of Biology at VCU in 2017.

Representative Publications

Apel AR, Hoban K, Chuartzman S, Tonikian R, Sidhu S, Schuldiner M, Wendland B, Prosser D. (2017) Syp1 regulates the clathrin-mediated and clathrin-independent endocytosis of multiple cargo proteins through a novel sorting motif. Mol Biol Cell 28(18):2434-48.

Prosser DC, Wrasman K, Woodard TK, O’Donnell AF, Wendland B. (2016) Applications of pHluorin for quantitative, kinetic and high-throughput analysis of endocytosis in budding yeast. J Vis Exp (116):54587.

Prosser DC, Wendland B. (2016) DePFth perception in clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Dev Cell 37(5):387-8.

Prosser DC, Pannunzio AE, Brodsky JL, Thorner J, Wendland B, O’Donnell AF. (2015) -arrestins participate in cargo selection for both clathrin-independent and clathrin-mediated endocytosis. J Cell Sci 128(22):4220-34.

Alvaro CG, O’Donnell AF, Prosser DC, Augustine AA, Goldman A, Brodsky JL, Cyert MS, Wendland B, Thorner J. (2014) Specific -arrestins negatively regulate Saccharomyces cerevisiae pheromone response by down-modulating the G-protein-coupled receptor Ste2. Mol Cell Biol 34(14):2660-81.

Lang MJ, Martinez-Marquez JY, Prosser DC, Ganser LR, Buelto D, Wendland B, Duncan MC. (2014) Glucose starvation inhibits autophagy via vacuolar hydrolysis and induces plasma membrane internalization by down-regulating recycling. J Biol Chem 289(24):16736-47.

Prosser DC, Wendland B. (2012) Conserved roles for yeast Rho1 and mammalian RhoA GTPases in clathrin-independent endocytosis. Small GTPases 3(4):229-35.

Prosser DC, Drivas, TG, Maldonado-Báez L, Wendland B. (2011) Existence of a novel clathrin-independent endocytic pathway in yeast that depends on Rho1 and formin. J Cell Biol 195(4):657-71.

Prosser DC, Tran D, Schooley A, Wendland B, Ngsee JK. (2010) A novel, retromer-independent role for sorting nexins 1 and 2 in RhoG-dependent membrane remodeling. Traffic 11(10):1347-62.

Prosser DC, Whitworth K, Wendland B. (2010) Quantitative analysis of endocytosis with cytoplasmic pHluorin chimeras. Traffic 11(9):1141-50.

Prosser DC, Tran D, Gougeon PY, Verly C, Ngsee JK. (2008) FFAT rescues VAPA-mediated inhibition of ER-to-Golgi transport and VAPB-mediated ER aggregation. J Cell Sci 121(18):3052-61.


        Derek Prosser

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