• E-mailOyvind.Halskau@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 45 63
  • Visitor Address
    Høyteknologisenteret i Bergen, Bioblokken, Thormøhlensgt. 55
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7800
    5020 Bergen

Lipids as catalysts of protein misfolding

The unit of life is the cell. Its outer border is the cell membrane, a thin sheet just a few nanometers thick. This is not a solid barrier, but rather a semi-fluid oil-like affair. It consists of lipids, molecules similar to fats or oils and proteins. There are also chains of sugar molecules linked to it. The cell membrane allows some molecules to pass through it, but is impassable to others. Many of both the protein, lipid and sugar molecules of the cell membrane are well-understood in terms individual behavior. But in the complex and constantly changing environment of the membrane it has remained a challenge to understand how each component may affect each other. And understanding this interplay is critical for understanding the molecular foundation of the cell. This project intends to examine how lipids affect proteins and how proteins affect the integrity of the lipid assembly that gives the cell membrane its integrity as a barrier. One of the main questions asked is whether some lipids or states of the membrane can cause certain proteins to misform. Proteins normally need to twist their shape into a specific structure, or fold, to gain their function. If this process, which is usually spontaneous, is disturbed, they can form damaging states instead. This is normally referred to as protein misfolding, and the project asks whether some lipids can prompt certain membrane-associated proteins to misfold at a quicker pace than they normally would. Such misfolding events are implicated in many diseases, including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Diabetes II, as well as prionic diseases. If the scientific question is well posed and the project manages to pursue it with appropriate techniques it is possible that one might gain new and detailed insight into disease mechanisms. This could in time lead to better prevention or treatments. Our preliminary findings indicate that cells modulate their lipid composition to a large extent throughout their life-time. The lipid mixes are so different that that the physical properties of the membrane changes significantly. We also find that different lipid mixes affect the aggregation-rates of model peptide systems.

I also help with protein structure and dynamics on the ETECvac and Chromatine Regulation projects that are led by Pål Puntervoll and Rein Aasland, respectively.

Courses taught

MOL310 - Structural Molecular Biology

MOL320 - Advanced Biophysical Techniques

MOL210 -  Lipid Biochemistry (with A. Lewis)

Minor contributions:







MBV 9520 (2x45 min lecture in protein dynamics, national-level Biostruct-course)

MOL950 (a practical NMR module, national-level Biostruct-course)

Lecture in BMED325Nanobiochemistry

Lecture in Atomic Force Microscopy (national-level Biostruct-course)

Guest lectures and leading discussions in BMED310 - Philosophy of Science

Statistics (SOK33B) and Inorganic chemistry

Here is my academic production in:


Google Scholar

Web of Science

Below is also my CRIStin publication list. 

  • Furse, Samuel Robert; Jakubec, Martin; Frode, Rise; Hew, Willams; Catherine, Rees; Halskau, Øyvind. 2017. Evidence that Listeria innocua modulates its membrane's stored curvature elastic stress, but not fluidity, through the cell cycle. Scientific Reports.
  • Strømland, Øyvind; Handegård, Ørjan S.; Govasli Larsen, Morten Andreas; Wen, Hanzhen; Furse, Samuel Robert; Halskau, Øyvind. 2017. Spectroscopic and AFM characterization of polypeptide-surface interactions: Controls and lipid quantitative analyses. Data in Brief. 12: 113-122. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2017.03.014
  • Strømland, Øyvind; Handegård, Ørjan; Govasli, Morten L.; Wen, Hanzhen; Halskau, Øyvind. 2017. Peptides derived from α-lactalbumin membrane binding helices oligomerize in presence of lipids and disrupt bilayers. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes. 1859: 1029-1039. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2017.01.005
  • Strømland, Øyvind; Jakubec, Martin; Furse, Samuel Robert; Øyvind, Halskau jr. 2016. Detection of Misfolded Protein Aggregates from a Clinical Perspective. Journal of Clinical and Translational Research. 2: 11-26. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.18053/jctres.02.201601.003
  • Wen, Hanzhen; Strømland, Øyvind; Halskau, Øyvind. 2015. α-lactalbumin: oleic acid complex spontaneously delivers oleic acid to artificial and erythrocyte membranes. Journal of Molecular Biology. 427: 3177-3187. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2015.08.009
  • Schillinger, Anne-Sophie; Grauffel, Cédric; Khan, Hanif Muhammad; Halskau, Øyvind; Reuter, Nathalie. 2014. Two homologous neutrophil serine proteases bind to POPC vesicles with different affinities: When aromatic amino acids matter. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes. 1838: 3191-3202. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2014.09.003
  • Skjevik, Åge Aleksander; Mileni, Mauro; Baumann, Anne; Halskau, Øyvind; Teigen, Knut; Raymond C., Stevens; Martinez, Aurora. 2014. The N-terminal sequence of tyrosine hydroxylase is a conformationally versatile motif that binds 14-3-3 proteins and membranes. Journal of Molecular Biology. 426: 150-168. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2013.09.012
  • Havukainen, Heli; Münch, Daniel; Baumann, Anne; Zhong, Shi; Halskau, Øyvind; Krogsgaard, Michelle; Amdam, Gro Vang. 2013. Vitellogenin recognizes cell damage through membrane binding and shields living cells from reactive oxygen species. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 288: 28369-28381. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.465021
  • Lystvet, Sina Maria; Volden, Sondre; Singh, Gurvinder; Rundgren, Ida Marie; Wen, Hanzhen; Halskau, Øyvind; Glomm, Wilhelm. 2013. Anticancer Activity from Gold-alpha-Lactalbumin Nanoconstructs? Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 117: 2230-2238. doi: 10.1021/jp3104886
  • Lystvet, Sina Maria; Volden, Sondre; Singh, Gurvinder; Yasuda, Masahiro; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Glomm, Wilhelm. 2013. Tunable photophysical properties, conformation and function of nanosized protein–gold constructs. RSC Advances. 3: 482-495. doi: 10.1039/c2ra22479h
  • Solbak, Sara Marie Øie; Reksten, Tove Ragna; Hahn, Friedrich; Wray, Victor; Henklein, Petra; Henklein, Peter; Halskau, Øyvind; Schubert, Ulrich; Fossen, Torgils. 2013. HIV-1 p6 - a structured to flexible multifunctional membrane-interacting protein. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes. 1828: 816-823. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2012.11.010
  • Wen, Hanzhen; Glomm, Wilhelm; Halskau, Øyvind. 2013. Cytotoxicity of bovine alpha-lactalbumin: Oleic acid complexes correlates with the disruption of lipid membranes. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes. 1828: 2691-2699. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2013.07.026
  • Baumann, Anne; Gjerde, Anja Underhaug; Ying, Ming; Svanborg, Catharina; Holmsen, Holm A; Glomm, Wilhelm; Martinez, Aurora; Halskau jr, Øyvind. 2012. HAMLET forms annular oligomers when deposited with phoshpolipid monolayers. Journal of Molecular Biology. 418: 90-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2012.02.006
  • Bustad, Helene J.; Skjærven, Lars; Ying, Ming; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Baumann, Anne; Rodriguez-Larrea, David; Costas, Miguel; Underhaug, Jarl; Sanchez-Ruiz, Jose Manuel; Martinez, Aurora. 2012. The peripheral binding of 14-3-3gamma to membranes involves isoform-specific histidine residues. PLoS ONE. 7. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049671
  • Havukainen, Heli; Underhaug, Jarl; Wolschin, Florian; Amdam, Gro Vang; Halskau jr, Øyvind. 2012. A vitellogenin polyserine cleavage site: highly disordered conformation protected from proteolysis by phosphorylation. Journal of Experimental Biology. 215: 1837-1846. doi: 10.1242/jeb.065623
  • Schillinger, Anne-Sophie; Grauffel, Cédric; Halskau, Øyvind; Reuter, Nathalie. 2012. PR3 Interacts Directly to Lipid Bilayers: Evidence from MD Simulations and SPR Experiments. Biophysical Journal. 102: 497A-497A.
  • Volden, Sondre; Lystvet, Sina Maria; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Glomm, Wilhelm. 2012. Generally applicable procedure for in situ formation of fluorescent protein-gold nanoconstructs. RSC Advances. 2: 11704-11711. doi: 10.1039/c2ra21931j
  • Glomm, Wilhelm; Volden, Sondre; Ese, Marit-Helen; Halskau jr, Øyvind. 2011. Interactions of α-Lactalbumin and Cytochrome с with Langmuir Monolayers of Glycerophospholipids. Journal of Dispersion Science and Technology. 32: 150-158. doi: 10.1080/01932690903543287
  • Havukainen, Heli; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Amdam, Gro Vang. 2011. Social pleiotropy and evolution of honey bee vitellogenin. Molecular Ecology. 20: 5111-5113. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05351.x
  • Havukainen, Heli; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Skjærven, Lars; Smedal, Bente; Amdam, Gro Vang. 2011. Deconstructing honeybee vitellogenin: novel 40 kDa fragment assigned to its N terminus. Journal of Experimental Biology. 214: 582-592. doi: 10.1242/jeb.048314
  • Johannessen, Helene Bustad; Underhaug, Jarl; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Martinez, Aurora. 2011. The binding of 14-3-3 gamma to membranes studied by intrinsic fluorescence spectroscopy. FEBS Letters. 585: 1163-1168. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.03.027
  • Lystvet, Sina Maria; Volden, Sondre; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Glomm, Wilhelm. 2011. Immobilizaton onto gold nanoparticles alters α-lactalbumin interaction with pure and mixed phospholipid monolayers. Soft Matter. 7: 11501-11509. doi: 10.1039/c1sm06337e
  • Lystvet, Sina Maria; Volden, Sondre; Yasuda, Masahiro; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Glomm, Wilhelm. 2011. Emergent membrane-affecting properties of BSA-gold nanoparticle constructs. Nanoscale. 3: 1788-1797. doi: 10.1039/c0nr00948b
  • Wen, Hanzhen; Rundgren, Ida M.; Glomm, Wilhelm; Halskau jr, Øyvind. 2011. Benchmarking Different BAMLET-like Preparations with Resepct to Tryptophan Exposure, Interfacial Activity, and Effect on Cell Viability. Bioanalysis & Biomedicine. 5 pages. doi: 10.4172/1948-593X.S5-003
  • Halskau jr, Øyvind; Volden, Sondre; Calvo, Ana C; Martinez, Aurora; Glomm, Wilhelm. 2010. Adsorption and bioactivity of tyrosine hydroxylase on gold surfaces and nanoparticles. Protein peptide letters. 17: 1376-1382.
  • Mossberg, Ann-Kristin; Puchades, Maja; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Baumann, Anne; Lanekoff, Ingela; Chao, Yinxia; Martinez, Aurora; Svanborg, Catharina; Karlsson, Roger. 2010. HAMLET interacts with lipid membranes and perturbs their structure and integrity. PLoS ONE. 5. 10 pages. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009384
  • Glomm, Wilhelm Robert; Volden, Sondre; Halskau, O; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Ese, Marit-Helen G. 2009. Same System-Different Results: The Importance of Protein. Introduction Protocols in Langmuir-Monolayer Studies of Lipid-Protein Interactions. Analytical Chemistry. 81: 3042-3050. doi: 10.1021/ac8027257
  • Halskau jr, Øyvind; Muga, Arturo; Martinez, Aurora. 2009. Linking new paradigms in protein chemistry to reversible membrane-protein interactions. Current protein and peptide science. 10: 339-359.
  • Halskau jr, Øyvind; Ying, Ming; Baumann, Anne; Kleppe, Rune; Rodriguez-Larrea, David; Almås, Bjørg; Haavik, Jan; Martinez, Aurora. 2009. Three-way interaction between 14-3-3 proteins, the N-terminal region of tyrosine hydroxylase and negatively charged membranes. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 284: 32758-32769. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.027706
  • Sælensminde, Gisle; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Jonassen, Inge. 2009. Amino acid contacts in proteins adapted to different temperatures: hydrophobic interactions and surface charges play a key role. Extremophiles. 13: 11-20. doi: 10.1007/s00792-008-0192-4
  • Halskau jr, Øyvind; Perez-Jimenez, Raul; Ibarra-Molero, Beatriz; Underhaug, Jarl; Muñoz, Victor; Martinez, Aurora; Sanchez-Ruiz, Jose Manuel. 2008. Large-scale modulation of thermodynamic protein folding barriers linked to electrostatics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105: 8625-8630. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0709881105
  • Sælensminde, Gisle; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Jonassen, Inge. 2008. Amino acid contacts in proteins adapted to different temperatures: hydrophobic interactions and surface charges play a key role. Extremophiles. doi: 10.1007/s00792-008-0192-4
  • Glomm, Wilhelm R; Halskau jr, Øyvind; Halskau, Jr., Øyvind; Hanneseth, Ann-Mari D; Volden, Sondre. 2007. Adsorption Behavior of Acidic and Basic Proteins onto Citrate-Coated Au Surfaces Correlated to Their Native Fold, Stability, and pI. Journal of Physical Chemistry B. doi: 10.1021/jp074839d
  • Sælensminde, Gisle; Saelensminde, G; Halskau, Øyvind; Halskau, O; Helland, Ronny; Willassen, Nils Peder; Jonassen, I. 2007. Structure-dependent relationships between growth temperature of prokaryotes and the amino acid frequency in their proteins. Extremophiles. 11: 585-596. doi: 10.1007/s00792-007-0072-3
  • Halskau jr, Øyvind. 2005. Structure and dynamics of the peripheral protein Lactalbumin in relation to its membrane binding capability.
  • Halskau, Øyvind; Underhaug, Jarl; Frøystein, Nils Åge; Martinez, Aurora. 2005. Conformational flexibility of alpha-lactalbumin related to its membrane binding capacity. Journal of Molecular Biology. 349: 1072-1086. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2005.04.020
  • Rødland, Ingunn; Halskau, Øyvind; Martinez, Aurora; Holmsen, Holm A. 2005. alpha-Lactalbumin binding and membrane integrity--effect of charge and degree of unsaturation of glycerophospholipids. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids. 1717: 11-20.
  • Rødland, Ingunn; Halskau, Øyvind; Martinez, Aurora; Holmsen, Holm A. 2005. α-Lactalbumin binding and membrane integrity – effect of charge and degree of unsaturation of glycerophospholipids. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes. 1717: 11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2005.09.004
  • Agasøster, Armelle, V.; Halskau, Øyvind; Fuglebakk, Edvin; Frøystein, Nils Å.; Muga, Arturo; Holmsen, Holm A; Martinez, Aurora. 2003. The interaction of peripheral proteins and membranes studied with alpha-lactalbumin and phospholipid bilayers of various compositions. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 278: 21790-21797.
  • Halskau, Øyvind; Frøystein, Nils Å.; Martinez, Aurora. 2002. Detaljer i utilgjengelig systemer – membran-protein vekselvirkninger. NBS-nytt. 26: 16-19.
  • Halskau, Øyvind; Frøystein, Nils Å.; Muga, Arturo; Martinez, Aurora. 2002. The Membrane-bound Conformation of a-Lactalbumin Studied by NMR-monitored 1H Exchange. Journal of Molecular Biology. 321: 99-110.
  • Halskau, Øyvind. 2000. The membrane bound conformation of bovine alpha-lactalbumin studied by NMR-monitored 1H-exchange. Kjemisk institutt, UiB, Kjemisk institutt, UiB. 152 pages.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

2014:The membrane as a catalyst of damaging protein misfolding events (Research Council of Norway grant #240063)

2009: Interfaces as folding templates for polypetides (With associate professor Wilhelm Glomm)

2008: From details to drugs – a thorough structural and dynamic analysis of 14-3-3, tyrosine hydroxylase and membranes (Lie and Jensens fund/Norwegian Cancer Society, grant #58240001, with Professor Aurora Martínez)

2007: Dissecting molecular properties of honey bee vitellogenin (Research Council of Norway, grant #185306, with Professor Gro Vang Amdam)

2006: Linking new paradigms in protein chemistry to membrane-protein interaction, apoptosis and signalling (Norwegian Cancer Society, grant #06109/01, with Professor Aurora Martínez)

2002: Structural characterization of protein folding variants that induce apoptosis in tumor cells (Research Council of Norway, grant #149117, with Professor Aurora Martínez)