Max Planck Fellows
Mechanism of Enzymes from Anaerobic Bacteria (Prof. W. Buckel)
The group of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Buckel focuses on the mechanisms of enzymes from anaerobic bacteria. The absence of oxygen enables anaerobes to use radical enzymes. The radicals are generated either by complex cofactors such as coenzyme B12 or by just transient one-electron oxidation or reduction. In all cases the radical or the electronis recycled after each turnover. Such enzymes that stabilize radical intermediates open a new chapter of chemical biology. Recently, enzymes were discovered that catalyze electron bifurcations, in which an exergonic reduction drives an endergonic reduction. This new reaction explains the long-time elusive energy metabolism of strict anaerobes, especially those of fermentative bacteria and cytochrome-less methanogens.
Bacterial cell biology (Prof. M. Thanbichler)
Bacteria represent the simplest forms of life, which makes them powerful tools to study the basic concepts of cellular organization. Despite their comparably simple architecture, they have evolved an amazing variety of mechanisms to control the spatial arrangement of cellular components, including localized protein complexes, diverse cytoskeletal structures, and complex signalling cascades. These regulatory systems control a range of essential processes, such as cell growth, cell differentiation, chromosome segregation, and cell division.
Our group investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying the spatiotemporal organization of bacterial cells, with an emphasis on the model bacteria Caulobacter crescentus, Hyphomonas neptunium, and Myxococcus xanthus.