Molecular Mechanisms of

Functional & Pathological Amyloid Fibrils

in Health and Disease

The aim of Akbey Lab is to use modern solid state NMR (ssNMR) spectroscopy to study biofilm forming functional amyloid fibrils. We develop novel NMR methods to push the limits of the state of the art and apply these methods to understand molecular details and mechanisms of insoluble and non-crystalline proteins. Solid-state NMR has made a remarkable progress in the last decade to become a high-resolution and -sensitivity method due to advances in sample preparation, hardware, novel methods such as proton-detection and hyperpolarization (DNP). These allow studies of not only difficult proteins in-vitro but also in their complex in-vivo environment. We also like to combine ssNMR with other exciting structural biology tools. We use recombinant protein expression and biophysical methods to produce and characterize isotope labeled protein samples.
Our functional amyloid systems are a unique class of amyloid fibrils with specific biological functions in living organisms, in contrast to the pathological amyloids causing disease as neurodegenerative ones (αS or Aβ). A subgroup of these systems is forming bacterial biofilms (such as CsgA, FapC, TasA or PSMs), a major cause of persistent infections and an antimicrobial resistance (AMR) target. We focus on ssNMR-based structural biology of these biofilm forming functional amyloids. We aim to determine atomic resolution structure and molecular dynamics information, for better understanding of amyloid formation, biofilms and their interactions. This will pave the way towards future treatments against bacterial infections and their antimicrobial resistance.
People working in the Akbey Lab get in-depth expertise in a variety of structural biology methods, mainly ssNMR based protein structure/dynamics determination, biophysics, biochemistry, recombinant protein expression and purification, physical chemistry and others. We are always looking for motivated scientists to work with us at any level, and please contact us for possibilities.