Alex Merz


University of Washington, 

Biophysical and Structural Biology

Cell Signaling & Cell/Environment Interactions

Microbiology, Infection & Immunity

Molecular basis of organelle identity

Faculty Contact Information

Building: Health Sciences Building Room: HSB J-357 Phone: 206-616-8308 https://depts.washington.edu/biowww/pages/faculty-Merz.shtml

Lab Information

Location: University of Washington Building: Health Sciences Building Room: HSB J-355 http://www.merzlab.org/

Accepting Students For:

Rotation, Autumn
Rotation, Spring
Rotation, Summer
Rotation, Winter


The following publications were retrieved from PubMed:

A Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase Effector Alters Phagosomal Maturation to Promote Intracellular Growth of Francisella.

Ledvina HE, Kelly KA, Eshraghi A, Plemel RL, Peterson SB, Lee B, Steele S, Adler M, Kawula TH, Merz AJ, Skerrett SJ, Celli J, Mougous JD.

Cell Host Microbe. 2018 Aug 8; 2(24)285-295.e8

Hallmarks of Reversible Separation of Living, Unperturbed Cell Membranes into Two Liquid Phases.

Rayermann SP, Rayermann GE, Cornell CE, Merz AJ, Keller SL.

Biophys J. 2017 Dec 5; 11(113)2425-2432

Sec17 (α-SNAP) and an SM-tethering complex regulate the outcome of SNARE zippering in vitro and in vivo.

Schwartz ML, Nickerson DP, Lobingier BT, Plemel RL, Duan M, Angers CG, Zick M, Merz AJ.

Elife. 2017 Sep 19; (6)

The dense-core vesicle maturation protein CCCP-1 binds RAB-2 and membranes through its C-terminal domain.

Cattin-Ortolá J, Topalidou I, Dosey A, Merz AJ, Ailion M.

Traffic. 2017 Nov; 11(18)720-732

Sec17/Sec18 act twice, enhancing membrane fusion and then disassembling <i>cis</i>-SNARE complexes.

Song H, Orr A, Duan M, Merz AJ, Wickner W.

Elife. 2017 Jul 18; (6)

Research Summary

We study the molecular mechanisms underlying the biogenesis and dynamics of organelles. We use yeast as a pioneer system due to its still unparalleled genetic toolkit and advanced genomics. Currently we are interested in traffic flowing into the Golgi and between the Golgi and endolysosomal organelles.

Approaches used in our group include: super-resolution microscopy, reconstitution of membrane dynamics using cell-free and reconstituted systems; high-throughput “deep scan” saturation mutagenesis; and EM tomography and single-particle structure determination.