Membrane Structure and Function

Biological membrane research in UVA'sMembrane Structure and Function lab.Biological membranes are the site of many molecular systems that give rise to a variety of physiologically important functions. Among these functions are nutrient and ion transport, oxidative and photosynthetic phosphorylation, signal transduction, and electrical excitability. A detailed understanding of membrane functions requires examination of components at the molecular level and an understanding of the organization of these components to form the complete system within the overall geometry of the membrane. To this end, considerable research at the University of Virginia is directed toward the isolation and characterization examination of functional protein components, the generation and study of lipid bilayer systems, and the reconstitution of functional membrane systems from these components.

This work spans the spectrum of biological membranes from highly specialized structures such as those found in nerve axons and synapses and in the rod outer segments of the visual system, to more generalized membranes exhibiting a diversity of functions, such as those of microorganisms, erythrocytes, and somatic cells in culture. The questions addressed and the types of techniques used range from the analysis of the dynamics of lipid acyl chains by NMR spectrometry and fluorescence depolarization, to site-directed mutagenesis of transport proteins, to determination of membrane protein structure by electron diffraction.

Faculty in this area:
Paula Barrett

Barrett, Paula Q.

Regulation of low-voltage activated T-type Ca2+ channel activity by kinases and heterotrimeric G-proteins and their roles in physiological responses.

James Casanova

Casanova, James E.

Role of Arf family GTPases in vesicular transport and cytoskeleton assembly.
Cell Biology of bacterial pathogenesis.
The innate immune response to bacterial infection.

Linda Columbus

Columbus, Linda

Biophysical Chemistry: Membrane protein structure, function, and dynamics

Bimal Desai

Desai, Bimal N.

Ion channels and Ca2+-signaling in inflammation, immunity and tissue homeostasis

David Kashatus

Kashatus, David F

The Role of Mitochondrial Fusion and Fission in Tumorigenesis.

Dean Kedes

Kedes, Dean H.

Human Herpes virus associated with malignancy, including Kaposi's Sarcoma

Anne Kenworthy

Kenworthy, Anne

Architecture and function of biological membranes

Mark Kester

Kester, Mark

Nanotechnologies for targeted drug delivery

Owen Pornillos

Pornillos, Owen

Structure and assembly of HIV, virus/host interactions, structural biology of the innate immune system

Lukas Tamm

Tamm, Lukas K.

Biomembrane Structure and Function; Cell Entry of Enveloped Viruses; Neurosecretion by Exocytosis; Structure of Bacterial Pathogen Membrane Proteins; Lipid-Protein Interactions

Michael Wiener

Wiener, Michael C.

Structure/function of integral membrane proteins; structural biophysics; enzymology and virology of ZMPSTE24; sparse-constraint structure determination; technology development

Mark Yeager

Yeager, Mark

Cardiac Gap Junction Membrane Channels / IntegrinsWater Channels / Rotavirus / Reovirus / Retrovirus

Jochen Zimmer

Zimmer, Jochen

Transport of biopolymers across biological membranes with a particular interest in polysaccharide and protein translocation.