Signal integration by membrane signalling assemblies

Prof. Dr. Carola Hunte (CIBSS-PI), Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ZBMZ (Faculty of Medicine), University of Freiburg

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Dynamic protein assemblies of high complexity mediate signalling processes at and across membranes. They operate as functional units and integrate signals in response to multiple external and internal stimuli. Signal integration enables precise control of cellular functions and provides the basis for the mutual regulatory interplay with cellular metabolism. Yet, an in depth knowledge of the structural basis and mechanism of signal integration is lacking.

We aim to shed light on fundamental principles of signal integration by membrane signalling assemblies using an experimental approach that combines structural characterization, analysis of biophysical properties, comprehensive accounts of the assemblies´ composition in native environment with elucidation of the functional outcome in cells and organisms. Focus will be on integrated regulation of cellular ion homeostasis and on the molecular basis of an integrated control of cellular respiration and metabolism. These experiments will contribute to a detailed understanding how dynamic membrane signalling assemblies control vital cell functions and interlink with cellular metabolism. Precise modulation of these functions by control-of-function tools which target key steps of signal integration is the long-term goal of the study.