Research Team / Research Group Name (if any)
Mitochondrial Membranes Lab
Brief description of the Research Team / Research Group / Department
The Mitochondrial Membranes Laboratory (MML) is a membrane biophysics group, housed in the Physical Chemistry Department at Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the Biomedical Research Institute "Hospital 12 de Octubre". The MML merges a broad array of disciplines, including physical chemistry, biophysics or molecular biology. The MML focuses on understanding the mechanics and dynamics of the membrane processes occurring in mitochondria such as membrane fusion or oxidative phosphorylation. Headed by Iván López Montero, the MML is currently formed by 2 assistant professors, 4 postdoctoral researchers, 1 PhD student and 4 undergraduate students. The MML is equipped with a wet lab, cell culture (prokaryote and eukaryote) and a wide range of techniques for the mechanical characterization of biomimetic model membranes (confocal microscopy, micromanipulation, surface tension or Image Correlation Spectroscopy). Our experimental capabilities will be expanded in the upcoming months to time-resolved fluorescence microscopy (FLIM, FRET, TR-anisotropy, FCS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Other techniques/facilities are also available in the campus including NMR, SEM, TEM or DLS among others.
Research lines / projects proposed
The MML focuses on understanding the membrane processes occurring in mitochondria to identify new therapeutic targets against mitochondrial diseases. Along with this guiding scientific objective, the MML is currently interested on:<br /><br />1. The membrane biophysics of ATP synthase: Mechanical interplay between ATP synthase and lipid bilayers. That is, the ability of mitochondria to exploit the collective effects of rotating ATP synthases for membrane remodeling and protein organization in living cells.<br />2. The identification of new therapeutic targets against mitochondrial diseases and cancer based on mitochondrial membrane mechanics: This includes the study of the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial fusion and the mitochondrial membrane remodelling promoted by lipophilic cationic probes.<br /><br />More recently, the MML, in collaboration with James Rothman (UCL), Vivek Malhotra (CRG) and Frederic Pincet (CNRS) has been awarded with an Synergy Grant (starting in September 2021) to decipher the formation and self-organization of the protein secretory pathway<br />