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Dr Jon Lane

Dr Jon Lane

Dr Jon Lane
B.Sc.(Soton.), Ph.D.(Exon.)

Reader in Cell Biology

Area of research

Molecular regulation of autophagy

Office Room C.49a
Biomedical Sciences Building,
University Walk, Clifton BS8 1TD
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 2115


My lab is interested in autophagy - the regulated recycling of cytoplasmic material through delivery and degradation in the lysosome. 

Please visit the Lab website 

Follow Jon on Twitter @Jon_D_Lane

Autophagy (macroautophagy) is characterised by the formation of double membrane-bound organelles that sequester regions of cytoplasm including misfolded protein aggregates and organelles.The autophagosome membrane is decorated with a protein known as Atg8 (commonly known as LC3), which plays roles in autophagosome assembly and cargo selection.

We use live-cell imaging as well as fixed cell microscopy (including electron microscopy) to explore how and where autophagosomes are assembled. Through the application of cell-lines expressing GFP-tagged autophagy proteins (such as Atg5; Atg14; Atg16L; DFCP1), we can determine how the sequential recruitment of autophagy factors influences autophagosome assembly.

In our studies we used various human and mouse cell culture lines, primary human erythroid precursors and induced pluripotent stem cells from human patients. The latter we differentiate into specific neural lineages to understand how autophagy is regulated in neurons for research into the causes of neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s disease; Alzheimer’s disease).



I set up my lab in 2003 with the award of a Research Career Development Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust. This followed PhD training with Dr Howard Stebbings in Exeter and Postdoctoral training in molecular motors and membrane trafficking in Profs Viki Allan and Philip Woodman’s labs in Manchester. In particular, this period of training provided important insight into the control of ER membrane dynamics and structure through cell-based and cell-free assay systems. Microtubules, motors, organelle dynamics and membrane traffic have been unifying themes of my research so far, and it was applying this knowledge to the understanding of membrane trafficking processes during apoptosis on the back of 2 Journal of Cell Biology papers in 2001/2002 that enabled me to establish a niche research area. I set out to try to understand how altered cytoskeletal dynamics and membrane trafficking in apoptotic cells contributed to apoptotic signalling, execution and clearance – generating four articles in the Journal of Cell Science (2004, 2005, 2006, 2009a), including the first characterization of the formation and function a novel array of microtubules that control ER and chromatin remodelling in apoptotic cells. These studies highlight how cells retain the capacity to establish and coordinate large macromolecular complexes in the final stages of apoptotic execution.

More recently, I have become interested in molecules acting at the regulatory interface between apoptosis and the catabolic process of autophagy. My lab identified a caspase cleavage site in the autophagy protein, Atg4D, and demonstrated that cleavage stimulates Atg4D-mediated autophagy while lowering the apoptotic threshold (Journal of Cell Science 2009b). My lab then went on to demonstrate how caspase cleavage of Atg4D (and the related protein, Atg4C) exposes mitochondrial-targeting motifs that couple caspase activity with mitochondrial function in cultured cells and in primary human erythroid precursors (Autophagy 2012). This work was carried out in parallel with the first detailed, ultrastructural study of organelle remodelling and autophagy in ex vivo differentiated human erythroid cells – a study that highlights the ability of the lab, in collaboration with Verkade, to carry out careful, quantitative TEM analyses of dynamic membrane events (Autophagy, 2013). This year, my lab has published a study on how mitochondrial function influences Parkin-mediated mitophagy in human RPE1 cells and in MEFs (Journal of Cell Science 2014).



Cellular Processes

Foundations in Biomedical sciences

The Dynamic Cell

Molecular Cell Biology

Advanced Cell Biology

Cell Biology of Development and Disease


  • Autophagy
  • apoptosis
  • membrane trafficking.


I am interested in the regulation programmed cell death in health and disease. My key research areas are apoptosis and autophagy, and I take a functional, cell biological approach to understand changes in cell structure/function during these forms of cell death. My principle expertise is in microscopy, and my group routinely uses a variety of microscopy technique to pursue our aims. Of note, we use live-cell microscopy (fluorescence and transmitted light) to monitor cellular processes by time-lapse imaging.

  • apoptosis
  • autophagy
  • programmed cell death
  • caspases
  • secretory pathway
  • cytoskeleton
  • microtubules
  • Memberships


    School of Biochemistry

    Other sites

    Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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