Physical modeling of non-equilibrium processes in biological systems

Funding period 2017-2020

                                                            Public Outreach Article in "Scientia"


SFB Seminar

Tue, 21/05/2019 - 14:15
Campus SB, INM (Geb. D2 5), Leibniz-Saal

Prof. Dr. Anne Kenworthy
Host: Prof. Dr. Niels de Jonge
University of Virginia, School of Medicine, Charlottesville, USA

Membrane domain biogenesis and function

Membranes are a defining feature of cells and can be exploited in a variety of technological applications.  While all membranes share a characteristic bilayer morphology, their lateral organization can be surprisingly complex.  The mixtures of lipids and proteins found in biological membranes, for example, often self-assemble laterally to generate a variety of higher order complexes and domains ranging from nanometers to microns in size.  However, the underlying principles that govern the assembly and function of these structures remain enigmatic.  Our group is addressing this gap in knowledge using a variety of biophysical, biochemical, and cell biological approaches through studies of two related yet distinct classes of membrane domains: membrane rafts and caveolae.  Both caveolae and rafts are localized within the plasma membrane of cells, form in a cholesterol-dependent manner, regulate a variety of cellular processes, and are linked to human disease.  Yet, rafts are small, dynamic, and lipid-based, whereas caveolae are long-lived, morphologically well-defined, and built from specific protein components.  In this talk, I will discuss our recent efforts to understand how these intriguing nanodomains form and function at the cellular level, including how they are exploited by pathogens to gain entry into cells, the structural basis of caveolae assembly, and our search for new approaches to pharmacologically manipulate rafts.

Poster creation workshop

Wed, 22/05/2019 - 10:00
Campus SB, Building E2 9 Room 0.07

Prof. Dr. Karin Jacobs

SFB Seminar

Wed, 29/05/2019 - 14:15
Campus SB, INM (Building D2 5), Leibniz-Saal

Prof. Dr. Dora Tang
Host: Prof. Dr. Robert Ernst
MPI-CBG, Dresden

Bottom up approaches to synthetic Cellularity

Living cells are well equipped in exploiting a large number of out of equilibrium processes to support life. A complete understanding of these mechanisms is still in its infancy due to the complexity and number of the individual components involved in the reactions. These reactions are spatially localized within membrane bound or membrane less compartments. Creating artificial, cell-like structures which have the features of compartmentalization and the ability to contain reactions is an important route to designing, building and engineering synthetic cellular systems with specific complexity and function. This bottom up approach allows excellent control over the components and represents an interesting alternative to generating cellular models. In this talk I will discuss strategies for the design and synthesis of membrane bound and membrane free compartments such as lipid vesicles, proteinosomes and coacervates and describe how these compartments may be used as platforms for implementing dynamical behaviours including: enzyme catalysis, intercellular communication or autocatalysis.