Task 3: Supramolecular organisation of membranes

TASK 3: SUPRAMOLECULAR ORGANISATION OF MEMBRANES AND MEMBRANE PROTEINS

(PARTNERS 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Life crucially depends on energy harvesting. Most organisms use a unique mechanism that relies on optimised electron flow to drive photosynthesis or respiration. The main aim of DYNAMO Task 3 is to provide an integrated view of the electron transfer chain (ETC) by coupling structural and functional studies going from the electron to the supramolecular organisation of complexes. The genetic control of the expression of these complexes has been presented in Task 1 and organellar level organisation in Task 2 (above). Our studies related to Task 3 has so far yielded 73 papers in total, 55 since 2015.

The key features of the respiratory and photosynthetic ETCs were described decades ago, but the mechanisms and control of each step remain elusive. Moreover, although linear electron transfer is more or less amenable to classical approaches, networked and cyclic electron flows upset our understanding of bioenergetics. Cyclic flows may occur locally at the level of a protein complex, at the level of one ETC or at a higher level. We made breakthroughs at each of these three levels and plan to intensify this line of research, whose understanding is rooted in coupling functional and structural studies. Our goal was to better understand the individual players in electron transfer, to decipher the interactions between the different partners and ultimately to extend our comprehension to an integrated ETC in a living cell.

Details of our studies can be found here.

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