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UKJ: TRR ReceptorLight und FOR DynIon

Ort: Universitätsklinikum, Haus A , Am Klinikum 1

Sensors within the cell membrane: The research consortia ReceptorLight and DynIon explore how they work

How do cells sense their environment and communicate with each other? As key sensors of a cell membrane receptors are essential for this function. We investigate their function using advanced microscopy and computer simulations.

The research projects ReceptorLight and DynIon, funded by the German Research Foundation, investigate membrane receptors and are particularly interested in their functioning and activation behavior. Membrane receptors are switching molecules located in the cell membrane. These sensors are activated by small molecules called ligands. Afterwards, a specific other molecule becomes activated or an ion channel is either opened or closed generating an ion current. Thereby, cells are controlled in many different ways.

In order to be able to study membrane receptors at the microscopic level, state-of-the-art light microscopy methods are required whose optical resolution is far below the resolution limit described by Ernst Abbe. ReceptorLight uses such high-resolution methods as the dSTORM technology. DynIon is interested in the investigation of ion channels and transporters at molecular levels. Therefore, experimental and computer-based theoretical approaches are combined. In addition to the experimental methods, such as the patch-clamp technique, DynIon uses computer techniques, such as all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations.

The research programs ReceptorLight and DynIon provide an insight into the research work. How can you see selected molecules with a fluorescence microscope? How can one simulate a protein by a computer?

 
Image (c) copyright: Jan-Peter Kasper

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