Mitochondrial genome maintenance & gene expression in the Kummer Group
The Kummer group has a deep interest in understanding the biology of human mitochondria with a specific focus on how these important organelles maintain their DNA and how they produce functional RNA species.
We combine structural approaches with functional biochemistry and cell biology in order to investigate essential mitochondrial processes in molecular and cellular detail. Our structural analysis is primarily based on single particle cryo-EM and cryo-electron tomography. By gaining fundamental mechanistic insights into mitochondrial DNA maintenance and RNA maturation, our lab hopes to shed light on the molecular triggers of mitochondrial disorders that are frequently caused by mutations in the involved protein factors.
Protein synthesis in mammalian mitochondria
Cryo-EM studies unravelling specific structural and functional adaptions in the process of protein production that mammalian mitochondria have acquired during evolution. Among these studies is the first reconstituted mitochondrial translation complex.
Kummer et al. Nature 2018, Kummer and Ban EMBO 2020, Kummer and Ban Nat Rev MCB 2021
Reversion of protein aggregation by concerted action of molecular chaperones
Unravelled a novel principle of how two chaperone systems disentangle aggregating, misfolded proteins inside the cell. Showed that direct interaction of the chaperones tunes their activity in space and time in order to adequately respond to cellular needs and prevent detrimental off-target effects. Bacteria and fungi thereby manage to sustain a healthy proteome at a relatively low energetic expense.
Seyffer, Kummer et al. NSMB 2012, Oguchi, Kummer et al. 2012, Carroni et al. eLIFE 2014