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Research

Biological membranes are essential for life. They provide specialized permeability barriers for cells and cell organelles, in which the interplay of lipids and membrane proteins enable fundamental processes of energy conversion, protein and solute transport, signal perception and transduction, and motility. The main facilitators of function are membrane proteins which also comprise the majority of drug targets. Protein structures are the basis for a complete understanding of mechanism of action and for elucidation of ligand binding. Yet, structures of membrane proteins in general and of eukaryotic and human membrane proteins in particular are still rare . In addition, little is known about interactions with lipids and intra-cellular signaling pathways critical for function.

 

The research of the group is focused on membrane proteins with important roles in biological energy conversion and ion transport. Structure, mechanism and function of respiratory multi-subunit complexes and of ion transporters and their interaction with intra-cellular signalling pathways are studied. The experimental approach combines molecular biological, biochemical and biophysical methods with emphasis on X-ray crystallography for structure determination. 

 

Projects

  • Cytochrome bc1 complex: open mechanistic questions, interaction with cytochrome c, generation of reactive oxygen species, target for anti-malarial drugs and fungicides
  • Respiratory supercomplexes
  • Mitochondrial complex I
  • Monovalent cation/proton antiporters with emphasis on sodium/proton exchangers and their signalling assemblies
  • Specific interactions between phospholipids and membrane proteins
  • The crystallization facilitators: recombinant antibodies for structural and functional characterization of membrane proteins

 

 

Funding

 
Our work is supported by
 

Cluster of Excellence - BIOSS  Centre of Biological Signalling Studies

SFB 746/CRC 746 Functional Specificity by Coupling and Modification of Proteins

COST (EU, CM1306) Understanding Movement and Mechanism in Molecular Machines

SFB 992/ CRC992 Medical Epigenetics

GRK 1976 Functional Diversity of Cofactors in Enzymes

GRK 2202 Transport across and into Membranes

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