Graduate School 1026 “Conformational transitions in macromolecular interactions”

The goal of GRK 1026 is to understand the relationship between folding transitions and biological action. Protein folding from the denatured state, both in vitro and enzymatically controlled, is a focal point in Halle. Building on this expertise, twelve scientists have decided to join forces to investigate the roles of folding transitions in macromolecular interactions. Making up eleven groups from the departments of Biochemistry / Biotechnology, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, as well as the “Max-Planck-Forschungsstelle für Enzymologie der Proteinfaltung”, we seek to examine the effects of such transitions on protein-lipid, protein-nucleic acid and protein-protein interactions at a biophysical, biochemical and cell biological level, under the integrative auspices of a Graduiertenkolleg.

FOR 1145 - Forschergruppe “Strukturbildung von synthetischen polyphilen Molekülen mit Lipidmembranen”

The DFG supported research network FOR 1145 studies the structure formation and self-assembly of synthetic polyphilic molecules as well as their interactions with various types of phospholipid membranes. Phospholipid membranes serve as a model for biological membranes, which constitute e.g. the outer boundary of cells. Due to their interactions, polyphilic molecules can modify the properties of a membrane, stabilizing it or making it leaky. The research networks tries to find polyphilic molecules that are biologically relevant and may be useful in pharmacological, biological or material science applications. The laboratories involved in this network perform both the synthesis of the polyphilic molecules and their physicochemical characterization.

Research Focus Molecular Biosciences “Proteins and their functions in the control of cellular processes”

The research focus Molecular Biosciences „Proteins and their functions in the control of cellular processes“ is a joint project of institutes of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and neighboring non-university research institutes.The structure and dynamics of proteins and their functions in a supramolecular and cellular context is investigated. Beyond basic research the medical and technical applications of proteins is of interest.


Research Focus Nanostructured Materials

Nanostructured materials show new electronic, optic, mechanic and magnetic features that are important for basic and applied science.
The common scientific topic in Halle is the production of thin layer films, uperlattices, and nanowires. These preparative steps are fundamental for the scientific success, because those probes are commercially not available. To analyse the interphase a variety of traditional and newly developed methods are applied.
To analyse the chemical and geometrical organisation of the interphase common techniques of surface science physics as scanning probe methodes (scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic force microscopy, scanning tunneling spectroscopy) are applied.

SFB 610 - Protein states of cell biological and medical relevance

The conformational plasticity used by proteins to adapt to changing temporal and spatial conditions in the cell and within the organism is at present poorly understood. Knowledge of such processes is a prerequisite for understanding the development of many diseases (such as cancer or amyloid formation) and therefore forms the basis for therapeutic invention. The SFB 610 represents a consolidation of groups from the Universities of Halle and Leipzig and from the “Max Planck Forschungsstelle für Enzymologie der Proteinfaltung” working in within this field. Three main sections are investigated:
-  transient conformational transitions leading to modulation of protein function
-  effects of covalent protein modifications on cellular physiology
-  strategies for therapeutic intervention

SFB 648 - Communication in plants and their response to the environment

The overall goal of the collaborative research center is to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying the interactions between plants and microbes, intracellular networks and processing of perceived signals in plants. Although these seem to be quite different processes there are similar mechanisms on the molecular level. Examples are the selective perception of external signals leading to pathogen recognition and the induction of signalling cascades in the plant cell, respectively. The collaborative research center SFB 648 consists of 13 different projects that are organized in three workpackages reflecting the main topics: A [Plant-pathogen interachtions], B [Intracellular networks] and C [Signal processing in the whole organism]. In addition, there is a service project on Microscopy. One major topic concerns the interaction between plants and bacterial and fungal pathogens, with a focus on pathogen-derived effector proteins and their plant targets. Objectives in the analysis of intracellular signal perception and transduction concern gene regulation and the effects of chromatin structure as well as kinase cascades. Different model systems, e. g. crop plants (corn, barley, pepper, tomato, tobacco, potato), Arabidopsis thaliana, but also yeast are studied using genetics, and state-of-the-art molecular genetic, biochemical and cell biology tools. One of the longterm goals is to unravel the complex networks of communication in plants that underly plant development and defense and that guarantee an optimal adaptation of plants to different environmental conditions.

ProNet-T3 – Protein Competence Network Halle: tools, targets, therapeutics

Three major research topics of ProNet-T3 are defined:
tools: development and application of protein science relevant technologies
targets: identification and biological / medical characterization of target proteins
therapeutics: development of protein drugs and their potential in medical application