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  Research topics
 
Comparative Protein Biochemistry -
Enzymology & Molecular Parasitology

     

    The two topics enzymology and molecular parasitology are combined in the current research projects outlined below. The main focus of the lab is to compare enzymes and protein machineries from different organisms with an emphasis on unicellular parasites.

     

    Why do we compare yeast and parasites? Apart from satisfying our curiosity, we analyze protein functions in order to figure out what exactly distinguishes parasitic protists from yeast or man at the molecular level. The more we know about parasites, the more treatment options will be discovered (even though biochemical research is just one part of such a process). Furthermore, the comparison of similar proteins from phylogenetically distant organisms (Fig. 1) is highly suited to decipher protein structure-function relationships and the molecular evolution of protein machineries. In brief, we try to answer the questions "what do certain proteins do" and "how do they work" for parasites, yeast and man.

     

     

Fig. 1: We work with proteins from baker's yeast (blue) and the parasites Plasmodium falciparum (red) and Leishmania tarentolae (green). These organisms are members from three different groups of eukaryotes. In contrast, many commonly used model organisms such as yeast, worms, flies, mice, etc. are all members of a single group (the opisthokonta). The figure was modified from Deponte 2008 BBA 1783:1396-1405.

 

Current projects

 

Mitochondria

The mitochondrial protein import machinery of parasitic protists

GFP-tagging sheds light on protein translocation

     

Glutathione-dependent catalysis

Hydroperoxide and thiol-disulfide metabolism - new enzymes, new lessons


 

Former projects

 

Glutathione-dependent catalysis

The glyoxalase system of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum