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Karthe Ponnuraj

University of Madras


R. Mahalakshmi

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal, Department of Biological Sciences, Bhopal, India

INPEC node since 2021

I study the folding, function, and regulation of the human mitochondrial metabolite flux protein VDAC, the core translocase protein Tom40, and the mitochondrial outer membrane chaperone Sam50 as well as its bacterial homolog BamA. Interaction of these proteins with α-synuclein, Aβ, and tau, are believed to trigger mitochondrial dysfunction and the onset of neurodegeneration; yet, the molecular factors regulating the early events of α-synuclein/Aβ/tau misimport, mito–ER stress regulation, calcium homeostasis, and ROS suppression, are not known. I use biophysical tools, spectroscopic techniques, and single molecule ensemble studies to characterize these membrane proteins at the molecular level. The overarching goal of my research is to develop feasible translational strategies targeted at neurodegeneration, using membrane proteins.

Keywords: membrane protein folding, protein biophysics, mitochondrial beta-barrels, ion channels, protein translocase, neurodegeneration

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