Membrane Pharmacy Structure Dynamics 

Research group : Priv.Doz. Dr. Thomas Nawroth 


The scientific work of the MPSD group follows an interdisciplinary concept at two levels: i) at the level of systems microbiology and molecular genetics are combined with classical biochemistry (isolation and purification); ii) at the level of scientific study biochemical function analysis (enzymatics) and characterization (spectroscopy) are combined with biophysics, especially structure investigation with X-ray and neutron radiation or electron microscopy. The actual focus, the  investigation of molecular motions in biological and artificial systems, requires the parallel application of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics, namely structure investigations. This is the concept of "biophysical chemistry". This strategy requires the steps depicted in the scheme:
Fig.1: The strategy of biophysical chemistry of membranes and proteins leads from cells over isolated systems (proteins, lipids, membranes, nucleic acids) to reconstituted model membranes. Lipids, substrates (nucleotides) and compounds for the manipilation of the systems are accessible by chemical synthesis. At each level the systems are investigated by biochemistry, biophysics and structure investigation in parallel (after T20).

Due to the complex properties and molecular interaction the scientific work with membrane proteins requires six steps for the deliviry of the scientific objects:
- growth of cells, if required after genetic manipulation
- isolation of membranes, if required from organelles (eucariotes)
- isolation and purification of proteins
- isolation and purification of lipids, if required chemical (semi)synthesis
- preparation of model membranes from lipids
- reconstitution of membrane proteins into model membranes, e.g. proteoliposomes
The scientific work with the objects (membranes, proteins, model membranes, structural studies and enzymatics) is described in the science-page.

The study of biological systems requires the combination of complementary methods of structural biology, biochemistry, molecular genetics and biophysics in parallel (fig.2). This interdisciplinary concept of "life sciences" has to be applied in education and research. Due to the complex structure-function relation of biological systems, especially of membranes and multidomain proteins, a study with a single scientific method would result in a sketchy knowledge and misinterpretation. With limited resources (money, people, know how) this concept requires collaborations between scientific groups and institutions. In the structural biology field the MPSD group participates in a collaboration of several groups in the study group "Structure dynamics of flexible protein domains", which is an open scientific network.
Fig.2: The interdisciplinary concept combines the scientific disciplines belonging to biophysics and biochemistry. This aspect of "life sciences"can also be depicted as Biophysical Chemistry (from T20).

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email to:   update : 15.10.2012