Watching Individual Molecules

Our group is interested in understanding the behaviour of membrane proteins at the level of individual molecules. By attaching a fluorescent tag to a membrane protein, we are able to see individual molecules. This allows us to observe sub-populations and kinetic intermediates that would be undetectable in an ensemble measurement.

Cell Membrane Mimics

We have also developed new methods to create artificial models of cell membranes. By contacting water droplets with a gel support immersed in a solution of lipid in oil we can create lipid bilayers that mimic the cell membrane.

We use these methods to try and understand study the behaviour of a variety of model membrane proteins.

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Membrane Protein Assembly

Using single-molecule imaging we are studying pore-forming bacterial toxins such as alpha-hemolysin. These proteins provide an model of how multisubunit membrane protein complexes assemble.

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Dynamic Structure & Function

Using simultaneous single-molecule fluorescence and single-channel electrical recording we can study the mechanism by which ion-channel gating is regulated by ligand binding.

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Ligand Binding

Around one third of all drugs target G-protein Coupled Receptors. We are using single-molecule fluorescence imaging to understand the mechanism of ligand-binding in GPCRs, and how this results in cell signalling.