Membrane Protein Structural Biology and beyond ...

Membrane proteins are essential for signal transduction and the transfer of proteins and small molecules across the biological membrane barrier and thus represent around 60% of current drug targets. We aim at characterizing the structure, dynamics, small molecule and partner protein interactions of selected membrane protein systems to obtain essential insights on their functionality and to facilitate rational drug design approaches.

Our main tool to achieve this goal is nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. In order to be able to study membrane proteins in a native lipid environment we develop novel and advanced membrane mimetics, called phospholipid nanodiscs, for their use in biochemical, biophysical and structural studies. 

We work on biologically important systems, such as mitochondrial membrane proteins, G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their associated G-proteins and metabolite transporters in plants. These membrane proteins are involved in metabolic diseases, neurological disorders and cancer, or supply energy to enable plant growth and the generation of biomass. Beside NMR, we use electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography and a variety of other biophysical, biochemical and computational methods.

The group is associated with the TUM School of Natural Sciences, Department Bioscience and the Bavarian NMR Center (BNMRZ) and the Institute of Structural Biology at Helmholtz Munich.