We are fascinated by Proteins. They are the workhorses in almost all cellular processes and come with an amazing diversity of functions and interactions. To manage their daily tasks and social behavior, they must be able to interact properly with their environment. Proteins must specifically recognize other biomolecules, which may be substrates for catalysis or partner proteins to form larger macromolecular complexes. We seek to understand the architecture, mechanisms and evolution of macromolecular complexes and machines, by combining methods of structural biology with computational approaches and biochemical assay development. We have a strong focus on molecular recognition processes and exploit our findings for drug development in collaboration with medicinal chemists.
- Integrative Structural Biology of Macromolecular Systems
- Targeted protein degradation
We work on intracellular RNA trafficking. Ribonucleic acid carries the cell's building instructions from the genome in the nucleus to the cytosol where proteins are synthesized according to these messages. Whether and where RNA is translated into protein is an important decision for the cell. We investigate mRNA localization and translation in yeast along with the life cycle and positioning of RNA-protein complexes, so called ribonucleoprotein particles (RNP), that are crucial for post-translational regulation.
- mRNA localisation and translational control in yeast
- Coordination of RNP and organelle transport
- Control of translation elongation
- Assembly and disassembly of transport ribonucleoprotein particles
The mitochondrial outer membrane plays a crucial role in the biogenesis, inheritance and dynamics of the organelle and forms the functional and signaling link between mitochondria and the rest of the eukaryotic cell. This membrane contains a diverse set of proteins that are synthesized in the cytosol and harbor signals that are essential for their subsequent import into mitochondria. We investigate the molecular mechanisms by which the various mitochondrial outer membrane proteins are targeted to mitochondria, inserted into the outer membrane and assembled into functional complexes within the membrane. In addition, we study the mechanisms and components that regulate lipids homeostasis in mitochondria. For our studies we use both yeast and mammalian tissue cultures as experimental systems.
- Biogenesis of mitochondrial and bacterial β-barrel proteins
- Cytosolic factors that mediate targeting of mitochondrial precursor proteins
- Membrane integration of mitochondrial outer membrane helical proteins
- Lipid homeostasis in mitochondria