Protein engineering and chemical biology

The central theme of our research is to take advantage of the unique properties of proteins and peptides to develop new molecular tools that allow the imaging of molecular processes in live cells or organisms. Techniques and approaches from molecular biology and protein biochemistry are combined with synthetic (supramolecular) chemistry and various biophysical techniques. We believe that molecular understanding of complex biomolecular interactions is crucial for the successful development of these tools. Inspired by the modular design of natural signaling proteins, we are pursuing a protein engineering approach (plug and play protein engineering) in which functional protein domains are connected via flexible peptide linkers. Controlling the conformational states in these chimeric protein switches requires a quantitative description of domain-domain interactions and the conformational distribution of the linkers

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