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Prof. Lars-Oliver EssenLars Oliver Essen 2012

Wissenschaftliche Laufbahn

  • 2005 Aufbau des MARXTAL– Kristallisationslabors, um mit Hilfe von Hochdurchsatz-Kristallisationsrobotik moderne Strukturbiologie zu betreiben
  • 2002-2007 Koordinator Forschungsprojekt ProAMP (Proteome-wide Analysis of Membrane Proteins, Bundesministerium fuer Bildung und Forschung BMBF).
  • 2001 Ruf an die Philipps-Universität Marburg als Professor für Strukturbiochemie am Fachbereich Chemie
  • 1996-2001 Gruppenleiter für Strukturbiologie am Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Abteilung Membranbiochemie, München
  • 1995-1996 Forschung auf dem Feld der Signaltransduktion am MRC Centre for Protein Engineering, Cambridge UK, bei Roger Williams
  • Promotion am Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysik, Frankfurt am Main bei Prof. Dr. Hartmut Michel, Thema "Proteindesign mit Antikoerpern - Generierung und röntgenkristallographische Charakterisierung synthetischer Antigenbindungsstellen"
  • Diplomstudium "Biochemie" an der Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen (1986-88) und der Eidgenössisch-technischen Hochschule ETH Zürich (1989-91)


Forschungsinteressen (engl.)

We use protein crystallography, biophysics and protein chemistry in the following three topics: photobiology, ion-channel engineering and fungal cell wall architecture.

Photobiology: Coming initially from membrane protein crystallography, where we analyzed structures of light-driven ion pumps, we set out to study the molecular mechanism of DNA repair by photolyases. This class of enzymes is indispensable for most sun-exposed organisms to maintain genomic integrity despite damages caused by UV light. Our structures of class I and II photolyases complexed to UV-damaged DNA demonstrate that repair of genotoxic UV-lesions depends on the direct, UV/blue light-driven injection of an electron onto the lesion when bound next to the flavin chromophore. Class II photolyases, present in all plants and most animals, deviate significantly from class I enzymes, raising the question, how the repair of UV-lesions within chromatin-packaged DNA proceeds. We expect that these studies could pave a way to UV-harden domestic plants and livestock.
Phytochromes are not only light switches for plant development, e. g. shade avoidance, but also occur in many photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic eubacteria. Our work on cyanobacterial phytochromes proved that red-light signaling, as exerted by plants, employs a very complex environment for controlling the photoreactivity of their bilin chromophore. Ongoing efforts focus on the nature of structural changes required to mediate down-stream signaling by plant and bacterial phytochromes.
Based on these structural & biochemical data we engineer novel optogenetic tools for exerting light-control on signaling, gene expression or catalysis.

Ion channel engineering: Inspired by the advent of light-controlled channelrhodopsins, ion channels have found wider application in basic sciences like neurobiology. We use wide-pore channels derived from bacterial and mitochondrial porins like OmpF, OmpG and VDAC to reengineer them chemically in terms of specificity and switching characteristics.

Other projects deal with  fungal cell wall architecture & adhesion and may hence become relevant for human health and biotechnology. By analyzing the structures and properties of fungal adhesion domains, we showed so far the structural base of flocculation by baker’s yeast, a process important e. g. in beer brewing. Another example, our work on the related Epa protein family from Candida glabrata, an opportunistic human pathogen, may trigger the development of anti-adhesive antimycotics.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 05.08.2016 · Wangy

Fb. 15 - Chemie

Fb. 15 - Chemie, Hans-Meerwein-Straße 4, 35032 Marburg
Tel. +49 6421/28-22032, Fax +49 6421/28-22012, E-Mail: essen@chemie.uni-marburg.de

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