Integral membrane proteins account for approximately one third of the coding capacity of the genes in an average organism. They are critically important for multiple central functions in any living cell. It is estimated that membrane proteins provide 80 to 90% of the targets relevant for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Due to their hydrophobic and amphiphilic nature, membrane proteins are difficult to study and they are notoriously resistant to standard proteomic analysis as well as to high-throughput techniques. The interaction of membrane proteins with their ‘solvent’, the membrane lipids, is not well understood. The function of membrane proteins is modulated by specific interactions with lipids, but also by specific interactions with cytosolic proteins. Thus, the characterization of membrane proteins and their interaction with biological membranes is a highly challenging and emerging research field with medical impact.

To comprehensively understand the assembly and functioning of membrane proteins as a result of their unique structures and specific membrane environment, a large number of novel, ‘state-of-the-art’ techniques will be jointly applied within the trinational GRK.

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« April 2024 »