Title of Research Group: Membrane Protein Structural Biology Group

Principal Investigator: Prof. Tewfik Soulimane

Institution: University of Limerick

School: Chemical & Environmental Sciences/Materials & Surface Science Institute

Research: X-ray crystallography of proteins is the gold standard method to obtain atomic resolution structures. For most proteins, the high flux coupled with low beam divergence and tunability for experimental phasing necessitates the use of synchrotron-source X-ray – aspects that home source (rotating anode) cannot supplement. Within our group, we are interested in the structure-function relationship of secondary metal and anion transporters and respiratory complexes. We combine the knowledge from structures into mutagenesis to understand the importance of specific amino acid residues in protein evolution and function to eventually gain an appreciation for structure-guided drug design.

Techniques: MX

Facilities: DIAMOND

Beamlines: I24

Group (as of 2014): 1 PD, 6 PhD

Participating group members:4 PhD and 1 PD

Impact: Access to Diamond Light Source has enabled the structure determination of caa3-oxidase (first membrane protein structure from an Irish group) as well as initial characterization of several other protein crystals.

Quote: The structure determination of caa3-oxidase will have a profound impact on basic and applied sciences through the understanding of cellular respiration and energy conservation as well as genetic disorders including Leigh syndrome, MELAS and AISA. The structure will also help our understanding of these diseases and subsequently will aid researchers in the rational design and discovery of drugs that can help alleviate their effects.”

Publication Highlights:
J. A. Lyons, D. Aragão, O. Slattery, A. V. Pisliakov, T. Soulimane, M. Caffrey, Nature, 2012, 487: 514–518, doi:10.1038/nature11182

Website: Group Website