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Petri Kursula lab

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protein structure

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. 

We are open for collaborations on interesting topics; do not hesitate to contact us if you need structural biology expertise. In addition, prospective students are welcome to contact us for MSc projects as well as for applying for PhD funding together. 

Human membrane proteins
myelin membrane proteins

Structural biology of human myelin membrane proteins

Myelin is a crucial structure for the normal functioning of the vertebrate nervous system. Here, we have used multiple state-of-the-art technologies at large international research infrastructures, enabling methods not available in Norway, to obtain 3D structural information on some of the most...

News
protein complex

Anti-Arc nanobodies as tools for structural and functional biology

Nanobodies are single-domain fragments obtained from camelid antibodies, which have high affinity towards their target protein. Two recent publications describe the development and use of nanobodies directed against the neuronal Arc protein to promote both structure determination, imaging and...

Paper in press
A statue holding the structure of the capping protein

Structure of a highly unusual homodimeric actin capping protein of the malaria parasite revealed

Malaria is one of the most devastating infectious diseases in the world. The parasites causing malaria move by gliding, for which force is generated by an unusual actomyosin motor. We have determined a high-resolution crystal structure of one of the key regulators of parasite actin dynamics, the...

Research funding
myelin membrane proteins

Funding for studies on biomembranes

Our research project BIOPROM (Biomimetic Proteolipid Multilayers - Structure and Properties) was awarded a research grant of 12 MNOK by the Research Council of Norway. The BIOPROM project will reveal unprecedented details of the molecular structure and properties of myelin, from the nano to the meso...

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 at the ILL...