Sugary Coats

We are investigating the mechanisms by which cells reinforce their boundaries through carbohydrate-based materials. These processes give rise to diverse structures such as cell walls in plants, exoskeletons in arthropods, biofilms and capsules in bacteria, or extracellular matrices that lubricate joints or stabilize soft connective tissues.

Across different biological kingdoms, various secretion systems have evolved to translocate polysaccharides across biological membranes to their final destinations. These systems encompass ATP-powered pumps and small membrane-integrated enzymes that operate directly at the cell boundary. We seek to establishing a detailed, atomistic understanding of these biological processes, which are fundamental to numerous biological functions in both health and disease.

To achieve this, we integrate biochemical methods with various structural biology techniques, including X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. This enables us to capture structural snapshots of macromolecular machines in action and engineer their properties to create novel biomaterials.

GlycocalyxStructural Biology Grid