Do you want to understand how membrane protein insertion

and assembly works?


Membrane proteins are a significant group of macromolecules in the envelope of all living cells. These hugely important molecules participate in many metabolic pathways, transport essential solutes and mediate signals across the biological membrane. Furthermore, they are highly prominent in all organisms and have been shown as the most important group of proteins in terms of drug targets. Since overproduced membrane proteins are usually impossible to produce at high levels in bacteria, we need a full understanding of the biogenesis of these proteins. Therefore, the insertion, assembly and interactions of these proteins need to be studied. 


Text Box: Marginally hydrophobic helices embedded in an    E. coli membrane protein








The focus of this project is on so-called marginally transmembrane segments that occur in over 60% of all multi-spanning membrane proteins. Interestingly, these segments do not insert in the biomembrane alone, however they can form stable structures in context of neighbouring segments of the same membrane protein. Therefore, we aim to identify the earliest point of membrane insertion as well as possible specific interaction motifs that enable those segments to fully integrate in the membrane by forming stable complexes.


If you are interested to join this project, you will work with a variety of methods like cloning, protein expression, data analysis etc. You will also get the chance to learn working independently in the lab with some flexibility.


Let me know if you need more details!

Felix Nicolaus, PhD student

Gunnar von Heijne lab

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics