Transient complex formation in nanodroplets
Dr Max Hantke
University of Oxford
Cells communicate information about their state and regulate their biochemical reactions via a network of often short-lived interactions between different proteins. Errors in these networks can cause cancer and growth defects. Our understanding of loose and short-lived interactions remains poor as they are too difficult to study.
I plan to establish new technology based on trapping interacting proteins in extremely small droplets that stabilise the elusive complexes. I can then examine the complex composition and structure using a combination of mass spectrometry, electron microscopy or X-ray lasers. I will study a part of the machinery by which plants take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the complex that is involved in repairing damaged DNA in human cells. If this complex does not function properly the DNA damage can lead to developmental problems and early death.
The findings will give detailed information about the architecture of the complexes and will aid the design of targeted medicines to treat disease.