Dissecting Intracellular Transport at the Molecular Level

Our research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of intracellular transport processes. The scope of our work includes the investigation of basic mechanistic properties of individual motor proteins of the kinesin and myosin families, the coordinated movement of motor ensembles and the reconstruction, characterization and regulation of multi-component transport complexes. A broad range of experimental techniques, including single-molecule biophysics, biochemical and structural methods, allows us to approach these questions from different perspectives. Klick here to read a short introduction to molecular motors and intracellular transport.

Current projects in our lab:

Biophysics of Molecular Motors

Motor Mechanics and Regulation

In the last decades, the investigation of the prototypical molecular motors kinesin-1 and myosin-V motors at the level of single molecules has provided us a rather detailed insight in the functionality of this powerful and fascinating class of enzymes. Our current research focuses on extending the current picture on motor mechanics and regulation mainly by investigating heterodimeric kinesin-2 motors.

Learn more about our projects on motor mechanics.

Intraflagellar Transport

Motor Coordination and Complex Formation

Intraflagellar Transport constitutes an ancient and universally conserved transport process essential for the construction of cilia. IFT requires a multi-subunit protein complex that is ferried in a bidirectional fashion by kinesin and dynein motors along axonemal microtubules. In a bottom-up approach, we aim for analyzing complex-formation of IFT particles as well as characterizing the mechanisms of the kinesin driven transport process.

Learn more about our IFT project.

Melanosome Transport

Regulation of Multiple Motor Transport

Physiological transport processes typically involve different types of molecular motors. To control which motor governs the transport at a given time, the activity of the motor proteins needs to be tightly regulated. Using purified, intact organelles, we study the regulation mechanisms that govern the activity of the molecular motors involved in aggregation and dispersion of melanosomes in epithelial cells.

Learn more about or work on melanosome transport.