Margaret Robinson is a cell biologist who studies the machinery cells use to transport cargo from one intracellular compartment to another. She has discovered a number of specific proteins, called adaptins, which manage this transport system and ensure the right cargo is delivered to the right address.
Margaret discovered that different combinations of adaptins, together with the lattice-like clathrin, form a coat round the vesicles that bud from intracellular membranes and act as transporters for protein packages to be delivered elsewhere in the cell. She continues to study this system in order to elucidate the relationship between particular combinations of adaptins and the cargo they carry.
Techniques developed in Margaret’s laboratory include a new method for inactivating proteins in seconds which she calls ‘knocksideways’. In addition to her basic research, she is investigating how an HIV protein hijacks the transport system, and why mutations in some adaptors cause hereditary spastic paraplegia.