Archaeal membrane protein complexes
Project Group of Structural Biology Department
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Archaea form a separate kingdom of life between bacteria and eukaryotes. Archaea contain many unique protein assemblies and offer fascinating insights into an exotic, largely unknown macromolecular universe that we are exploring by cryoEM and cryoET.
Virus-induced pyramids. Some viruses that infect archaea (archaeophages) induce the formation of large, 7-fold pyramid structures in the membrane of their archaeal hosts. The pyramids penetrate the protective S-layer from the inside and open in response to an unknown signal, creating ~1000 Å windows that allow the mature virus to escape. We use cryoET and sub-tomogram averaging to elucidate this unusual structure, and have expressed and crystallized the 10 kDa membrane protein that assembles into the pyramids. (Daum et al., PNAS 2014).