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Petri Kursula lab

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The function of biological molecules can only be fully understood when their structure and dynamics are known at the atomic level. We study various aspects of protein structure and protein-membrane interactions, and we use molecules from the vertebrate myelin sheath as our primary in vitro model system to understand the assembly of biomembranes at different levels of complexity. 

We focus on using different structural biology and biophysical methods to solve problems related to nervous system development and disease. While the main focus is on the molecules involved in the assembly of the myelin sheath, our scientific interests are broad. In addition to structural neurobiology, we enjoy membrane-binding proteins, intrinsically disordered molecules, X-rays and neutrons, and ultrahigh-resolution X-ray crystallography of macromolecules - to name but a few. 

teaching in the pandemic
portraits

The medical students' teaching award

Petri Kursula receive the prize for best teacher in preclinical medicine 2020.

Protein structure and disease
Protein structures

Structures of two CMT mutation targets revealed

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is the most common inherited neuropathy in humans, linked to mutations in dozens of different genes. Two of these genes encode the proteins GDAP1 and NDRG1. We have solved the crystal structures of these two proteins, in order to better understand their structure,...

Flexible but not weak
Single periaxin conformation

Myelin protein disorder reviewed

Myelin, the insulative multilamellar sheath that enwraps axons, speeds up our nerve impulses by two orders of magnitude – a prerequisite for an efficient nervous system that we humans and other vertebrates enjoy. Myelin gains its structure and function from a high abundance of lipids and proteins,...

Neutron Respect
CNPase structure

Highlighted studies in neutron science and structural biology

The ILL brochures are meant for the general public with a scientific interest, and they cover the application of neutron techniques in different areas of research. The "Neutrons in Health" brochure is published every 5 years, and 20 topics are selected globally from top research performed...

New aspects of myelination
MAG-DYNLL1 complex

A novel protein interaction in myelin

One long-standing question in myelin biochemistry was solved, as a new binding partner specific for the large isoform of MAG was identified.

We are part of the Neurotargeting Research Group at the Department of Biomedicine.