Dr Sara Imarisio


I am interested in studying proteins that have the propensity to form aggregates and cause neurodegeneration. In particular I study Huntington's disease (HD) and I use Drosophila melanogaster as a model system.

My research focus on finding genetic or pharmacological modifiers of polyglutamine toxicity and I am now extending my research to other aggregate-prone proteins, with the aim of identifying generic modifiers.

Research Focus



protein aggregation

polyglutamine diseases



Clinical conditions

Alzheimer's disease


Huntington's disease

Parkinson's disease

Polyglutamine diseases


Cell culture

Confocal microscopy

Drug treatment

Enzyme assays

Fluorescence microscopy




Angeleen Fleming

David Rubinsztein

Associated News Items



    Speretta E, Jahn TR, Tartaglia GG, Favrin G, Barros TP, Imarisio S, Lomas DA, Luheshi LM, Crowther DC, Dobson CM (2012), “Expression in drosophila of tandem amyloid β peptides provides insights into links between aggregation and neurotoxicity.” J Biol Chem 287(24):20748-54 Details


    Jahn TR, Malzer E, Roote J, Vishnivetskaya A, Imarisio S, Giannakou M, Panser K, Marciniak S, Crowther DC (2011), “Modeling serpin conformational diseases in Drosophila melanogaster.” Methods Enzymol 499:227-58 Details

    Korolchuk VI, Saiki S, Lichtenberg M, Siddiqi FH, Roberts EA, Imarisio S, Jahreiss L, Sarkar S, Futter M, Menzies FM, O'Kane CJ, Deretic V, Rubinsztein DC (2011), “Lysosomal positioning coordinates cellular nutrient responses.” Nat Cell Biol 13(4):453-60 Details

    Sarkar S, Korolchuk VI, Renna M, Imarisio S, Fleming A, Williams A, Garcia-Arencibia M, Rose C, Luo S, Underwood BR, Kroemer G, O'Kane CJ, Rubinsztein DC (2011), “Complex inhibitory effects of nitric oxide on autophagy.” Mol Cell 43(1):19-32 Details


    Menzies FM, Hourez R, Imarisio S, Raspe M, Sadiq O, Chandraratna D, O'Kane C, Rock KL, Reits E, Goldberg AL, Rubinsztein DC (2010), “Puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase protects against aggregation-prone proteins via autophagy.” Hum Mol Genet 19(23):4573-86 Details

    Underwood BR, Imarisio S, Fleming A, Rose C, Krishna G, Heard P, Quick M, Korolchuk VI, Renna M, Sarkar S, García-Arencibia M, O'Kane CJ, Murphy MP, Rubinsztein DC (2010), “Antioxidants can inhibit basal autophagy and enhance neurodegeneration in models of polyglutamine disease.” Hum Mol Genet 19(17):3413-29 Details

    Winslow AR, Chen CW, Corrochano S, Acevedo-Arozena A, Gordon DE, Peden AA, Lichtenberg M, Menzies FM, Ravikumar B, Imarisio S, Brown S, O'Kane CJ, Rubinsztein DC (2010), “α-Synuclein impairs macroautophagy: implications for Parkinson's disease.” J Cell Biol 190(6):1023-37 Details


    Imarisio S, Carmichael J, Korolchuk V, Chen CW, Saiki S, Rose C, Krishna G, Davies JE, Ttofi E, Underwood BR, Rubinsztein DC (2008), “Huntington's disease: from pathology and genetics to potential therapies.” Biochem J 412(2):191-209 Details

    Ravikumar B, Imarisio S, Sarkar S, O'Kane CJ, Rubinsztein DC (2008), “Rab5 modulates aggregation and toxicity of mutant huntingtin through macroautophagy in cell and fly models of Huntington disease.” J Cell Sci 121(Pt 10):1649-60 Details

    Sarkar S, Krishna G, Imarisio S, Saiki S, O'Kane CJ, Rubinsztein DC (2008), “A rational mechanism for combination treatment of Huntington's disease using lithium and rapamycin.” Hum Mol Genet 17(2):170-8 Details


    Sarkar S, Perlstein EO, Imarisio S, Pineau S, Cordenier A, Maglathlin RL, Webster JA, Lewis TA, O'Kane CJ, Schreiber SL, Rubinsztein DC (2007), “Small molecules enhance autophagy and reduce toxicity in Huntington's disease models.” Nat Chem Biol 3(6):331-8 Details


    Ravikumar B, Acevedo-Arozena A, Imarisio S, Berger Z, Vacher C, O'Kane CJ, Brown SD, Rubinsztein DC (2005), “Dynein mutations impair autophagic clearance of aggregate-prone proteins.” Nat Genet 37(7):771-6 Details

    Rubinsztein DC, Ravikumar B, Acevedo-Arozena A, Imarisio S, O'Kane CJ, Brown SD (2005), “Dyneins, autophagy, aggregation and neurodegeneration.” Autophagy 1(3):177-8 Details

    Sarkar S, Floto RA, Berger Z, Imarisio S, Cordenier A, Pasco M, Cook LJ, Rubinsztein DC (2005), “Lithium induces autophagy by inhibiting inositol monophosphatase.” J Cell Biol 170(7):1101-11 Details