BIOSS Research Area A: Membranes and protein–lipid interactions in signalling
Area A Coordinator: Prof. Winfried Römer
Signalling across membranes enables cellular responses to external stimuli, to components of and changes in the extracellular matrix and mediates cell-cell communication within tissues. Understanding membrane processes like endocytosis and signal transport are crucial to understand diseases and to develop strategies to facilitate the delivery of drugs to target cells to enhance the specificity and efficacy of pharmacological interventions. BIOSS has strongly contributed to the identification and characterisation of proteins assembling to large signalling complexes in various cellular membranes, e.g. the plasma membrane, the mitochondrial membrane and the nuclear membrane, in different biological contexts. While signalling events at the membrane often involve proteins, lipids also play important roles in membrane processes and signal transduction. Therefore, BIOSS area A focusses on better understanding the roles of lipids and their interplay with proteins in signalling and endocytosis. In addition to our already established expertise in utilising and developing technologies such as synthetic membrane systems of different complexity, we are extending our membrane toolbox to lipid analysis and computational modelling of membranes. In addition, BIOSS area A develops strategies to target lipid structures such as nanodomains for drug delivery or tumor recognition by tailor-made bispecific tools, which is carried out in close interaction with researchers in BIOSS area C.