The Henne Lab is interested in membrane remodeling. This includes gaining a fundemental understanding of how organelles are created, move, and communicate with one another inside cells. Armed with this knowledge, we also hope to deeply understand molecular mechanisms that govern human physiology and disease.  We are currently focused on understanding how different organelles contact one another at so-called Membrane Contact Sites (MCSs), and how these MCSs are used as biological platforms for the exchange of nutrients and biological information. 

Recently, we characterized a new protein family (the PXA domain-containing family) that play critical roles in lipid metabolism and neurological disease (see Henne et al, JCB, 2015). In yeast, this protein is called Mdm1, and acts as a "molecular bridge"? connecting the Lysosome to the Endoplasmic Reticulum. The human homolog--Snx14--is implicated in a newly described form of pediatric neurological disease (Thomas, AJHG, 2014). 

Background: Dr. Henne received his B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and then accepted a MRC Scholarship from the UK to pursue graduate studies at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge University. As a student in the lab of Harvey McMahon, Ph.D., he studied how membrane sculpting BAR and F-BAR domain-containing proteins promote clathrin-mediated endocytosis. He characterized the F-BAR proteins FCHo1/2, and showed that they play crucial roles initiating clathrin vesicle biogenesis. Mike was awarded the Max Perutz Prize for his graduate work.

Following graduate school, Dr. Henne began a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Scott Emr, Ph.D., at Cornell University as a Sam and Nancy Fleming Research Fellow. There, he continued to study endolysosomal trafficking, and how endosomes can be reshaped by the ESCRT (Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport) pathway. His work has focused on reconstituting and imaging ESCRT protein assemblies, and dissecting how they shape multi-vesicular endosomes. More recent projects involve global screens in yeast to identify novel proteins involved in endolysosomal trafficking.

Dr. Henne uses cell biology, biochemistry, structural biology, and genetics to understand the molecular mechanisms of membrane reshaping and trafficking. 

Research Interest

  • inter-organelle communication
  • lipid metabolism
  • membrane sculpting


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

ESCRT-III activation by parallel action of ESCRT-I/II and ESCRT-0/Bro1 during MVB biogenesis.
Tang S, Buchkovich NJ, Henne WM, Banjade S, Kim YJ, Emr SD Elife 2016 Apr 5
Structural basis for activation, assembly and membrane binding of ESCRT-III Snf7 filaments.
Tang S, Henne WM, Borbat PP, Buchkovich NJ, Freed JH, Mao Y, Fromme JC, Emr SD Elife 2015 Dec 4
Molecular mechanisms of inter-organelle ER-PM contact sites.
Henne WM, Liou J, Emr SD Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 2015 May 35 123-130
Molecular mechanisms of the membrane sculpting ESCRT pathway.
Henne WM, Stenmark H, Emr SD Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 2013 Sep 5 9
The ESCRT pathway.
Henne WM, Buchkovich NJ, Emr SD Dev. Cell 2011 Jul 21 1 77-91

Honors & Awards

  • Searle Scholar
  • Sam & Nancy Fleming Research Fellowship
  • The Max Perutz Prize
    awarded for Graduate work at MRC, Cambridge, UK (2009)