The goal of our research is to push NMR spectroscopy into new research areas and to provide insights at the molecular level into the factors that are responsible for the neurotoxicity of the proteins α-synuclein, Tau and Amyloid-β peptide during the course of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. In addition, we strive to obtain structure-function relationships for integral membrane proteins, such as the human voltage dependent anion channel.
For the first time, scientists in Göttingen have solved the high-resolution structure of the molecular transporter TSPO, which introduces cholesterol into mitochondria. This protein also serves as a docking site for diagnostic markers and different drugs, such as Valium.
In the brain of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease the tau protein forms tangles and contributes to nerve cell death. A molecular helper protein influences the tangling by recognizing and binding tau. Scientists have now shown that this recognition of partners occurs via principles fundamentally different from those normally employed by proteins.