Description of Research Group
Myelin is a specialized membrane structure in the vertebrate nervous system, enabling the fast ‘saltatory’ conduction of nerve impulses. Our main biological focus lies within the myelin sheath and especially its protein components: What do their folded structures look like, alone and in complexes? How do these molecules interact with membranes and the cytoskeleton, how are they arranged on the membrane, and how do they contribute to the formation and maintenance of the compact structure of myelin? What can we learn about myelin-related handicapping diseases from the structures of myelin proteins and their ligands?
In addition to myelin, we are interested in molecular mechanisms of neurological diseases and neuronal function in general. Understanding molecular defects that may lead to disorders at the atomic level is a fascinating goal. Especially interesting are the effects of mutations on neurobiologically important enzymes.
Our work relies on the use of synchtrotron radiation and neutrons. These techniques provide detailed views into the structure and dynamics of molecules in large macromolecular assemblies. Various biophysical techniques complement our structural biology annroach, and collaborators provide additional complementary techniques.
Technology, expertise and equipment
Our main tools include biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology. We have experience in structural enzymology, and several of our current protein targets are enzymes. We are setting up a structural biology and screening facility at UiB.