Together with Svietlana Shashkova, Niek Welkenhuysen and Mark Leak, Barbara led the work to better understand the properties of aggregates under stress.
The aggregation of misfolded or damaged proteins is often attributed to numerous metabolic and neurodegenerative disorders. To reveal underlying mechanisms and cellular responses, it is crucial to investigate protein aggregate dynamics in cells. Here, we used super-resolution single-molecule microscopy to obtain biophysical characteristics of individual aggregates of a model misfolded protein ∆ssCPY* labelled with GFP. We demonstrated that oxidative and hyperosmotic stress lead to increased aggregate stoichiometries but not necessarily the total number of aggregates. Moreover, our data suggest the importance of the thioredoxin peroxidase Tsa1 for the controlled sequestering and clearance of aggregates upon both conditions. Our work provides novel insights into the understanding of the cellular response to stress via revealing the dynamical properties of stress-induced protein aggregates.