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Biozentrum Lectures 2018

Insights into the structure and dynamics of membrane transport proteins 

Poul Nissen, Professor at Aarhus University and Director of DANDRITE, the Danish node of the Nordic-EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, Aarhus, Denkmark 

June 5, 2018, 5:15 pm Pharmazentrum, Lecture Hall 1

The membrane of a cell is a natural barrier to the environment and at the same time, the door to the world. In the human, there are up to 10'000 membrane proteins, which are responsible for signal transduction and the transport of molecules. A large and diverse family of membrane transporters are the so-called P-type ATPases. These transport proteins use the energy molecule ATP to pump specific ions across the cell membrane. In the brain, the Na+, K+ - and Ca2+ -ATPases play a vital role in ion homeostasis. The activities of P-type ATPases are fundamental to life, and their malfunction is linked to a range of disorders including neurological and cardiovascular diseases.

The combination of a variety of techniques such as membrane protein crystallography, molecular dynamics simulations and modelling has provided greater insights into the mechanistic concepts and function of the mammalian Na+, K+ - and Ca2+ -ATPase ion pumps. Recently the group of Poul Nissen has initiated cryoEM studies supported by a large Danish cryoEM network, and embarked on defining new rationales for X-ray and neutron scattering studies made possible due to the emerging facilities at the MAX IV synchrotron and European Spallation Source in Lund and the European XFEL and Petra3 X-ray sources in Hamburg.

Poul Nissen talks about his latest research findings and the progress made on the elucidation of the structure and dynamics of P-type ATPases. 

Poul Nissen is Professor of Protein Biochemistry at Aarhus University, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, and the Director of the DANDRITE neuroscience research center, which is the Danish node of the Nordic-EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine. Poul Nissen received his PhD from Aarhus University. After postdoctoral studies on ribosomes at Yale University (USA), he returned to Aarhus University to set up his own research group and, in 2006, he became Professor of Protein Biochemistry. Poul Nissen was awarded several prizes, including the Aminoff Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Science in 2016 and the Novo Nordisk Prize 2017.