Lipid- and ligand-dependent structure of helical membrane proteins

The 18 kDa translocator protein (TSPO) is an integral membrane protein that interacts with a wide variety of endogenous ligands, such as cholesterol and porphyrins, and is also the target for a number of small molecules used for diagnostic purposes. Using NMR spectroscopy, we propose to study (i) the influence of lipids on the structure and oligomerization of TSPO, (ii) the structure of TSPO in complex with second-generation radioligands, (iii) the connection between the structure of TSPO and its catalytic activity in porphyrin degradation, and (iv) the potential interaction between TSPO and VDAC.