Prof. Dr. Martin Spiess

University of Basel
Klingelbergstrasse 50 / 70
CH - 4056 Basel
Biozentrum, Room 577A Phone: +41 61 207 21 64
Curriculum Vitae

Administrative Assistant

Maja G√ľntensperger-Heckel
Biozentrum, Room 508
Phone: +41 61 207 21 51
Fax: +41 61 207 21 48


Not necessarily harmful: Protein aggregates in the brain

Protein aggregates in neurons are characteristic for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's...more

A glimpse inside the protein shuttle

Membrane proteins are essential for the exchange of substances and signals...more

Research group Martin Spiess

Membrane proteins and their transport in the cell

How are membrane proteins correctly assembled in the cell membrane and transported through the complex network of organelles in the cell? Errors in protein transport may result in disease.

Colonies of yeast cells.

Membranes surround our cells and divide the cell interior into separate compartments and organelles. They consist of lipids and embedded membrane proteins. Our group works for a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of how membrane proteins are incorporated into the lipid bilayer and how they are sorted and transported to their intended organelles.

Insertion of membrane proteins

We analyze the process of protein integration in living cells (mammalian cell culture and yeast cells). We challenge the cell with engineered model membrane proteins or mutate the translocon, the machinery that catalyzes this process, to find out the molecular mechanisms.

Membrane transport to the cell surface

Proteins are sorted between organelles and transported in membrane vesicles. Our research focuses on the molecules and mechanisms that mediate this. In particular, we study the pathways how proteins are transported to the cell surface and secreted.

Regulated secretion

The peptide hormone vasopressin regulates water retention in the kidney. Mutations that disturb transport and secretion cause cell death and lead to the disease diabetes insipidus. They produce protein aggregations similar to amyloids found in neurological diseases like Alzheimer's. We are testing the hypothesis that amyloid-like aggregation is normally involved in the formation of secretory granules for regulated hormone secretion.