Alexey Amunts

Alexey Amunts
Stockholm University

Research Interests

Our research group investigates the fundamental question of how proteins are synthesized, folded and assembled into functional multicomponent bioenergetic complexes that drive the cellular energy production.
Living cells ultimately depend on the conversion of energy derived from foodstuff and light into the chemical form of energy. This crucial bioenergetic step is performed in the membrane systems of mitochondria and chloroplasts. Each one of these organelle types has developed dedicated ribosomes that have diverged from the cytosolic counterparts. While mitoribosomes synthesize proteins involved in the oxidative phosphorylation, chlororibosomes produce components driving the pohotosynthetic reactions through pigment-protein units. To dissect the mechanism and dynamics of how the bioenergetic units that fuel life become to be, the lab members employ structural, functional and evolutionary analysis.
The lab has determined the atomic structures of some of the most complex multi protein assemblies driving key cellular processes, including chlororibosomes, mitoribosomes, photosystems and ATP synthase. The revealed molecular  mechanisms, activities and regulation illuminate how different cells obtain their energy and maintain the bioenergetic balance. From the evolutionary perspective, the achieved understanding of the architecture of these specialized systems provides now a framework to study the mechanisms underlying the development of bioenergetic membranes.
The research is supported by the ERC, Wallenberg Foundation, SSF Future Leaders and EMBO Young Investigator Programmes, Cancer Foundation Junior Investigator Award.

Group members

Rozbeh Baradaran, Researcher
Yuzuru Itoh, Postdoc
Rasmus Kock Flygaard, Postdoc
Alexander Muhleip, Postdoc
Andreas Naschberger, Postdoc
Patrick Cottilli, Research assistant
Annemarie Perez Boerema, Student
Vivek Singh, Student
Victor Tobiasson, Student

Fei Wu, Student

Vasileios Kyriakidis, Research coordinator

Recent publications

  • Distinct structural modulation of photosystem I and lipid environment stabilizes its tetrameric assembly (2020). Chen M, Perez-Boerema A, Zhang L, Li Y, Yang M, Li S, Amunts A. Nature Plants 6, 314-320
  • Structure of a minimal photosystem I from the green alga Dunaliella salina (2020). Perez-Boerema A, Klaiman D, Caspy I, Netzer-El S, Amunts A, Nelson N. Nature Plants 6, 321-327
  • Structure of a mitochondrial ATP synthase with bound native cardiolipin (2019). Muhleip A., McComas S, Amunts A. eLife 8 e51179
  • Structural patching fosters divergence of mitochondrial ribosomes (2019). Petrov A, Wood E, Bernier C, Norris A, Brown A, Amunts A. Molecular Biology and Evolution 36, 217-219
  • Zinc depletion does not necessarily induce ribosome hibernation in mycobacteria (2019). Tobiasson V, Dow A, Prisic S, Amunts A. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 116, 2395-2397
  • Cryo-EM structure of the activated RET signaling complex reveals the importance of its cysteine-rich domain (2019). Bigalke J, Aibara S, Roth R, Dahl G, Gordon E, Dorbéus S, Amunts A, Sandmark J. Science Advances 5, eaau4202
  • Structure-based mechanism for activation of the AAA+ GTPase McrB by the endonuclease McrC (2019). Nirwan N, Itoh Y, Singh P, Bandyopadhyay S, Vinothkumar K, Amunts A, Saikrishnan K. Nature communications 10, 1-9
  • Structure of the chloroplast ribosome with chl-RRF and hibernation-promoting factor (2018). Perez Boerema A, Aibara S, Paul B, Tobiasson V, Kimanius D, Forsberg B, Wallden K, Lindahl E, Amunts A.  Nature Plants 4, 212-217

Work opportunities

Hire very smart people. Leave them alone, but with a tea room to talk. Support them so they have time, & aren’t chasing money.” Max Perutz
If you are interested working in such environment, please contact Alexey Amunts.

Structural studies seminars

The seminar series of program for Molecular Interactions brings together researchers focusing on imaging, proteomics and drug discovery.
Suggestions for speakers are welcome by anyone, and the only criterion is outstanding recent work. Propose a speaker here.

Annual lecture in structural biology

The lecture series is set up to contribute to the development of structural biology and careers of young scientists. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz is the invited speaker for the upcoming event on the 20th of August 2020.