Characterization of Scaffolds at the Membrane Interface
The formation of protein complexes is the crucial event in almost every biological process. In particular complexes at membrane interface are important due to their ubiquitous presence in cellular functions ranging from cell motility to signal transduction.
In this project we are focusing on scaffolds, which are found in neuronal synapses. These complexes are an interesting model system in their own right. Synaptic scaffolds are dynamic, interactive systems, which represent general characteristics exhibited by other membrane scaffolds.
This goal is only tangible if we can determine structure-function relationships of each component and subsequently of the complex. As a first step we are solving the structure of an ion channel bound to different ligands, to identify changes in its conformation that may effect the binding to the scaffold protein. Concomitant with these studies we are identifying cues that induce the polymerization of the scaffolding protein.