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Membrane systems and molecule translocation/dislocation

Membrane proteins are the gatekeepers and sensors of the cell and a rich source for engineering of industrial or medical targets. Our researchers have developed an expression pipeline for the biogenesis and large-scale production of membrane proteins and their functional and structural analysis. This has resulted in insights in how cells control their volume, sense signals from the environment, and translocate water-soluble proteins across and insert membrane proteins into the lipid bilayer. The combination of X-ray crystallography and single-molecule microscopy has yielded breakthroughs in key mechanisms of ion-linked and ATP-driven small molecule transport and protein translocation. The molecular mechanisms of DNA unwinding and polymerase dislocation and exchange in DNA replication have been elucidated by real-time visualization of DNA replication at the single molecule level. A particularly powerful development has been the control of membrane transport and biological function by light or pH. New functionalities have been introduced into proteins or lipids by a combination of biomolecule engineering and chemical synthesis. This has resulted in novel biohybrid systems and e.g. the first-generation of remote-controlled drug delivery containers. Moreover, increasingly complex vesicular systems with energy conservation and control of transport have been synthesized to pave the way for future synthetic cells.

Last modified:31 January 2017 10.50 p.m.