Enzymology and protein structure and function

Enzymology and protein structure and function Several of the BMB faculty members have a particular focus on proteins. Their research interests include protein engineering, protein structure/function studies, elucidation of enzymatic mechanisms, as well as proteomics.

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The Sandlie group studies the structure and function of antibodies and T-cell receptors, the specific detection molecules of the adaptive immune system. The purpose of the work is to engineer antibodies and other molecules for use in therapy and research.

Anti-microbial/bacterial peptides (AMPs) are widely distributed in nature; they are produced by bacteria, plants and a wide variety of animals - both invertebrates and vertebrates. For animals and plants, AMPs are an important defence against microorganisms. AMPs may also for bacteria be thought of as a type of defence, since AMPs enable killing of invading bacteria that compete with the AMP-producer for nutrients.

There has especially been great interest in structure-function analysis of AMPs (often termed bacteriocins) produced by lactic acid bacteria (LAB). These AMPs (bacteriocins) are extremely potent, being active at pico to nano-molar concentrations. Moreover, the bacteria (i.e. LAB) that produce these AMPs are of “food grade quality” and industrial importance. LAB are used in food and feed production, they are part of the natural microbial flora in food humans have consumed for centuries, and they constitute a significant part of the indigenous flora of mammals, including humans. LAB and LAB AMPs/bacteriocins may, consequently, be considered to be relatively safe agents for preventing growth of pathogenic/undesirable micro-organisms. Some LAB AMPs/bacteriocins are in fact presently used as food preservatives, and the potential of LAB AMPs/bacteriocins in medical applications is exemplified by results showing that oral intake of bacteriocin-producing LAB protects mice against lethal doses of Listeria monocytogenes

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The proteomics group provides service and performs independent research on method development to study cancer.

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The Aarnes group studies ammonium toxicity in duckweed. 

The Structural Redox Biochemistry (ROX) team uses a combination of biophysical and biochemical methods to understand the structure and function of redox protein systems by using protein crystallography, enzyme kinetics, binding studies and different types of spectroscopies.