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Structure and Thermodynamics of Biomolecules

 

 

 

Overview

Biological processes fundamental to cell functioning and communication are mediated by dynamic non-covalent interactions between biomolecules. Characterization of the conformation, structural organization, molecular diversity, and thermodynamics of these biomolecules and their interactions is essential to understanding and, when required, regulating or modifying their biological activity.

This information is particularly relevant for biomolecules of biomedical or biotechnological interest. Therefore, the general objective of the group is to investigate the structure and function of such biomolecules and their complexes, using a multidisciplinary approach that combines a diversity of biophysical techniques with biochemical, cellular and molecular biology methods. This strategy will facilitate the identification of new targets for therapeutical or biotechnological intervention and the development of novel drugs or diagnosis assays.

In the last few years, we have focused on the study of lectins and carbohydrate-mediated processes, including host-pathogen interactions, and pneumococcal peptidoglycan hydrolases of relevance to pathogen virulence or able to act as antimicrobials. Currently, we are also involved in several projects related with the development of new therapeutic or preventive approaches to fight pathogen infections, as well as in lectin-based drugs or diagnosis tests, focused particularly on pathogen infections, autoimmune diseases or cancer.

Biophysical techniques: ITC and DSC microcalorimetry, analytical ultracentrifugation, spectropolarimetry, infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and the microarray technology, among others.

 

Current objetives:

  1. Structural, thermodynamic and functional characterization of proteins of biomedical/biotechnology relevance and their complexes with other biomolecules

  2. Study of carbohydrates as biological recognition signals, and of protein-carbohydrate interactions involved in physiological or pathological processes

  3. Search, development and characterization of new antimicrobials against Streptococcus pneumoniae and other respiratory pathogens

  4. Development of new designer microarrays aimed to the structural and functional characterization of systems with different degrees of complexity (from isolated molecules to whole cells)

  5. Study of host-pathogen interactions