Prof. Patrick Onck from the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (ZIAM) is a partner in an ENW-GROOT project funded by NWO. The consortium receives EUR 2.7 million for the project ‘Guardians of Protein Disorder’. Prof. Onck collaborates in this consortium with four partners from ERIBA, UMCG and TU Delft. Prof. Veenhoff from ERIBA (European Institute for the Biology of Ageing) coordinates the consortium. Onck receives EUR 580,000 for his part in the project.
Intrinsically disordered proteins are proteins that lack a stable structure. They fulfil essential functions in cells, but are also involved in protein-aggregation diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and ALS. Intrinsically disordered proteins can exist in different phases, such as a liquid droplet, a gel or a more rigid form, an aggregate. The goal of this research project is to reveal what protection mechanisms ensure that intrinsically disordered proteins exist in the right phase state to perform their biological function and to prevent disease. By studying how these transitions are guarded, the researchers think they will contribute to a better understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.
Prof. Onck’s research group will carry out coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to reveal the underlying physical mechanisms that are responsible for the different phase state transitions.
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