Department Web-Page

Dr. Scott Stagg

Dr. Scott Stagg

Associate Professor

Ph. D. (2001) University of Alabama, Birmingham

Contact Information
507 KLB 850.645.7872
Programs of Research
Research Website
Research Specialities
Bioanalytical, Cellular Biochemistry and Drug Discover, Chemical Biology, Computational Chemistry and Biochemistry, Structural Biology

Research Interest

Structural Biology of Macromolecular Complexes

Large multi-subunit complexes play an important role in biology. These complexes are often the intracellular machines that perform diverse functions such as synthesis (such as the ribosome), vesicle trafficking (such as clathrin and COPII), and transport (such as dynein). One powerful method for studying how these complexes perform their functions is cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM). In cryoEM, images are taken of specimens that have been embedded in a thin layer of vitreous ice, thus they are close to their native environment. Then, using techniques like tomography or single particle reconstruction, the specimens are reconstructed in three-dimensions. This 3-D picture can give valuable insights into the mechanisms that biological molecules employ to perform their functions. In our lab, we use cryoEM to study the structure of coat protein complex II (COPII) coated vesicles. In exocytosis and endocytosis, vesicular carriers mediate the transport of protein and lipid between various cellular compartments. These are fundamental pathways in eukaryotes, and their disruption can result in cell death or one of several diseases. COPII coated vesicles mediate the transport of cargo from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi apparatus. COPII vesicles are assembled from the association of three subunits: Sar1, Sec23/24, and Sec13/31. We have solved the structure of the COPII cage, assembled from Sec13/31 heterotetramers, and the COPII coat, assembled from both Sec13/31 and Sec23/24. These structures revealed several novel insights into the formation of COPII coats in vivo and the mechanisms by which the coat adapts to accommodate cargo of widely varying sizes and shapes. Current studies in the lab are aimed at increasing the resolution of the 3-D reconstructions of COPII cages and COPII coats, measuring the flexibility of Sec13/31 cages as observed in cryoEM images, and reconstructing natively assembled COPII coated vesicles.

Faculty Interview


Noble, A. J., Zhang, Q., O'Donnell, J., Hariri, H., Bhattacharya, N., Stagg, S. M., & Marshall, A. G. (2013). A Pseudoatomic Model of the COPII Cage Obtained From Cryo-electron Microscopy and Mass Spectrometry. Nat Struct Mol Biol, 20, 167-173.
Bhattacharya, N., O Donnell, J., & Stagg, S. M. (2012). The Structure of the Sec13/31 COPII Cage Bound to Sec23. J Mol Biol, 420, 324-334.
Lerch, T., O'Donnell, J., Meyer, N., Xie, Q., Taylor, K., Stagg, S. M., & Chapman, M. (2012). Structure of AAV-DJ, a Retargeted Gene Therapy Vector: Cryo-Electron Microscopy at 4.5 � Resolution. Structure, 20, 1310 - 1320.
McCraw, D. M., O'Donnell, J. K., Stagg, S. M., Taylor, K. A., & Chapman, M. S. (2012). Structure of adeno-associated virus-2 in complex with neutralizing monoclonal antibody A20. Virology, 431, 40-49.
Shrum, D. C., Woodruff, B. W., & Stagg, S. M. (2012). Creating an infrastructure for high-throughput high-resolution cryogenic electron microscopy. Journal of Structural Biology, 180, 254-258.
O'Donnell, J., Maddox, K., & Stagg, S. M. (2011). The structure of a COPII tubule. J Struct Biol, 173(2), 358-64.
Stagg, S. M., Knappenberger, K., Dowgiallo, A., & Chandra, M. (2011). Three-Dimensional Interfacial Structure Determination of Hollow Gold Nanosphere Aggregates. J Phys Chem Lett 2, 23.
Lander, G. C., Stagg, S. M., Pulokas, C., Yoshioka, C., Irving, A., Voss, N. R., Cheng, A., Fellmann, D., Mulder, J., & et al. (2009). Appion: an integrated, database-driven pipeline to facilitate EM image processing. J Struct Biol, 166, 95-102.