Membranes of all living cells are composed of (phospho-) lipids assembled into a lipid bilayer, which separates the cells inside from the outside. Depending on the environmental conditions, membranes need different properties to form a suitable barrier. For example, the membranes of archaeal extremophiles need to withstand harsh environmental conditions (high temperatures, salt concentrations, pH, etc.). Therefore, their membranes consist of completely different types of lipids, than for instance the membrane of the model bacterium Escherichia coli.
In this group we study the different types of lipids that are out there. We try to figure out the way they are synthesized and understand their specific function. In this way, we hope to contribute to the general understanding of the lipid membrane synthesis, composition, and regulation. Ultimately, we would like to mimic these processes in the context of a synthetic cell.
Project leader: Dr. Marten Exterkate
Researchers: Sergiy Gan