Welcome to Protein Reaction Control Laboratory

The aim of our research is to structurally and functionally describe proteins, and to exploit the working mode of proteins in biochemical, biomedical and biotechnological applications.

 

Basic understanding

DNA is a biomolecule that contains the information of life used in all living organisms. However, without the proteins, a second class of biomolecules, this information would be useless. In fact, the translation of DNA-coded information into proteins is one of the elementary processes in nature. You can think of the DNA as the underlying plan that has all the information. But it needs proteins so the plan can be realised.
Our research is focused on proteins. We have a dual approach: First, we characterise selected proteins to find out what they are good for and how they work in detail. Second, we train these proteins, so that they are not doing their normal job, but new, designed functions. Read more

 

Advanced understanding

Proteins are important building blocks of life, and present in every living organism. Proteins are involved in structural tasks, like collagen as the major part of the connective tissue, or have specific functional roles. Such functions can be the binding and transport of compounds, like e.g. oxygen, vitamins, hormones or other proteins, or the catalysis of chemical reactions, like e.g. the breakdown of many nutrients to the central metabolic compound acetyl-CoA, or the synthesis of the universal energy carrier ATP.
Proteins occur in different architectures and the architectural complexity often correlates with the complexity of tasks it fulfills. Multifunctional proteins build a specific class of proteins which are for example involved in fatty acid synthesis. Read more

 

Expert understanding

The underlying goal of our research is to provide understanding of the functional mechanisms of proteins to finally reprogram their reaction modes. Specifically, we pursue two research goals:
Focus 1: Fatty acid synthases as target of inhibition. Involved in key metabolic pathway, fatty acid synthases represent promising targets for antibiotic and anti-neoplastic treatment.
Focus 2: The use of type I fatty acid synthases (FAS) and type I polyketide synthases (PKS) as multistep catalysts for directed product synthesis. FAS and PKS are chemically highly versatile proteins and responsible for the synthesis of a wealth of bioactive compounds in nature. The synthetic concept of these proteins provides high potential for biocatalytic approaches. Read more

 


Which methods do we use?


 

Our research employs relevant methods in the fields of molecular biology and structural biology on protein. We have expertise in cloning, cell cultivation, (recombinant) protein expression, chromatographic and electrophoretic methods, blotting techniques, enzyme and inhibitor studies, standard spectroscopic methods and X-ray crystallography. Other expertise is contributed by collaboration partners (currently: electron microscopy, time-resolved ultrafast spectroscopy).

The lab is well equipped. Instrumentation is available for cloning (PCR machines, gel electrophoresis devices), bacterial cell culture (incubation shakers) cell lysis (French Press), protein purification (ÄKTA chromatography systems and columns), X-ray structural studies (tools for cryo crystallography, in house access to pipetting robots, access to synchrotron beamlines), EM structural studies (in cooperation with MPI of Biophysics, on campus) and analytical studies (SDS-PAGE, absorption spectrometers, multi-wavelength length imaging system, “UPLC-microTOF II” HPLC-MS system, in house access to plate readers).

 

 

Where are we located?


 

The Buchmann Institute of Molecular Lifesciences (BMLS) is located at the Riedberg Campus in the north of Frankfurt/Main. The building with its labs, facilities and offices is brand-new and extremely well equipped. The campus harbors the life science faculties of the university, lecture and library buildings, and the Max-Planck-Institutes of Biophysics and Brain Research comprising all disciplines and methods of life sciences.

 

 

What are our current projects?



  • Structural studies on fatty acid synthase systems
  • Manipulation of protein functions
  • Understanding of the assembly of multifunctional proteins
  • In vitro protein synthesis

 

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