The Barandun lab
In our research group we are using a combination of in vivo assays, biochemistry and cryo-electron microscopy to study macromolecular complexes of specialized pathogenic organisms. We would like to understand the molecular basis of essential pathways in pathogens and uncover unique structural determinants that could serve as novel targets for antibiotics.
1. Molecular machines important for the infection process
We are particularly interested in highly divergent and specialized pathogens that have unique ways to infect host cells. We aim to identify and characterize these processes and provide a molecular and structural basis of specialized infection mechanisms.
2. Organism specific elements in universally conserved assemblies
Many molecular machines are conserved in all living organisms. The ribosome, for example, is responsible for almost all protein synthesis on earth and essential in all living organisms. This importance is highlighted by the fact that numerous antibiotics target this essential macromolecular RNA-protein assembly. Despite their highly conserved central role in all cells, ribosomes of different organisms are diverse in terms of their complex structural composition.
We would like to learn how evolution has shaped the structure and composition of the ribosome in highly divergent and understudied organisms and characterize pathogen-specific differences. Further, we would like to learn if these differences require an organism-specific assembly process and provide a structural basis of ribosome biogenesis in pathogenic organisms.
Recruitment of PhD students and Postdocs ongoing
Sanghai Z. A.*, Miller L.*, Molloy K. R., Barandun J., Hunziker M., Chaker-Margot M., Wang J., Chait B. T. & Klinge S.#Modular assembly of the nucleolar pre-60S ribosomal subunit. Nature(2018) 556:126–9.
Barandun J.*, Hunziker M.*, Klinge S.#Assembly and structure of the SSU processome — a nucleolar precursor of the small ribosomal subunit.Current Opinion in Structural Biology(2018) Jan;49 85-93.
Barandun J.*, Chaker-Margot M.*, Hunziker M.*, Molloy K. R., Chait B. T. and S. Klinge.#The complete structure of the small-subunit processome. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology(2017) 24:944–53.
Hunziker M.*, Barandun J.*, Petfalski E., Tan D., Molloy KR., Kim KH., Dunn-davies H., Shi Y., Chaker-margot M., Chait BT., Walz T., Tollervey D. & Klinge S.#UtpA and UtpB chaperone nascent pre-ribosomal RNA and U3 snoRNA to initiate eukaryotic ribosome assembly.Nature Communications. (2016) 7, 12090.
Barandun J., Delley C. L., Ban N. & Weber-Ban E.#“Crystal structure of the complex between Prokaryotic Ubiquitin-like Protein Pup and its Ligase PafA.” J. Am. Chem. Soc.(2013) 135: 6794–7.