Biochemistry and Physiological Impact of Selected Transport Proteins

Membrane associated transport processes are critical for all living cells. This is, because membranes separate individual compartments which makes the controlled exchange of solutes to a conditio sine qua none for proper cell function. In nearly all sequenced organisms about 1/3 of all genes code for membrane associated proteins, which further highlights the relevance of transport proteins for living systems.

With help of revers- and forward genetics, molecular physiological approaches as well with sophisticated biochemical methods we try to understand transporter function in relation to cell, organ and plant properties. We mainly focus on the analysis of transporters located in the cell organelles vacuoles, chloro-/amyloplasts and the Endoplasmic Reticulum. These carriers transport compounds like different sugars, nucleosides, ions, organic acids and the (universial) cellular energy currency adenosine triphosphate (ATP). To identify subcellular location of transporters we employ laser-scanning microscopy using transporter-GFP fusions and to reveal the individual transport modes we express transporters recombinantly in systems like Escherichia coli, bakers-yeast and Xenopus oocytes. Moreover, we reconstitute selected carrier proteins in proteoliposomes to answers questions on transport energization.

Work in this area is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in the frame of the International Research Training Group 1830 ( and by several individual DFG grants. Within the IRTG1830 we train our doctoral candidates at the forefront of research as this initiative comprise several groups located at our University and at the University of Saarland, as well as groups located at the University of Alberta at Edmonton (Canada), which all share a common education program.

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