Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies
Cluster of Excellence, University of Freiburg

Mechanistic understanding of signalling by single-molecule fluorescence

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hugel (CIBSS-AI), Institute of Physical Chemistry (Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy), University of Freiburg

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In the framework of this CIBSS project we aim at studying the dynamics of signalling complexes at the plasma membrane. The bacterial lectin LecA represents an important invasion factor for the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa by interacting with the host cell glycosphingolipid Gb3. This interaction leads to the induction of cytosolic Src and CrkII signalling.

We want to understand the impact of LecA-induced Gb3 clustering at the extracellular leaflet of the plasma membrane, probably leading to membrane reorganization and changes in membrane order. Supported lipid bilayers in combination with advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques will be used to investigate these first, crucial steps of signal induction at the plasma membrane.

Moreover, we will compare our experimental data sets with coarse-grained molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, which are performed in parallel by an IRTG Soft Matter Science – funded project.