© Hector Fellow Academy
2. February 2021
New publi­ca­tion by Nikolaus Pfanner

A study by Nikolaus Pfanner has been published in the journal Nature

Mitochon­dria are vital for the human body as cellu­lar power­houses. Dysfunc­tions lead to severe diseases, especially of the nervous system and the heart. In order to trans­port proteins and metabo­lites, mitochon­dria contain a special group of so-called beta-barrel membrane proteins. Until now, it has not been possi­ble to clarify how these proteins are formed.

A team led by Prof. Dr. Toshiya Endo from Kyoto University/Japan, Prof. Dr. Nils Wiede­mann and Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Pfanner from the Univer­sity of Freiburg and Prof. Dr. Thomas Becker from the Univer­sity of Bonn has succeeded in solving the struc­ture and function of the SAM complex. The SAM complex is the sorting and assem­bly machin­ery (SAM) for the biogen­e­sis of beta-barrel proteins.

The scien­tists were able to identify a new princi­ple for the forma­tion of the membrane proteins and thus eluci­date how the barrel pore assem­bly in the mitochon­dr­ial outer membrane works.