Welcome to LBBS

We study the structure and function of large dynamic macromolecular complexes (biological nanomachines) comprised of hundreds of protein molecules. Of particular interest are the bacterial type VI secretion system (T6SS), R-type pyocins, and the host cell adsorption organelles of bacterial viruses. These systems employ a rigid tube plus contractile sheath mechanism for breaching the envelope of the target host cell and are capable of translocating large proteins and DNA across lipid membranes.

We use a combination of X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy with other biochemical and biophysical techniques. Individual proteins and their complexes are crystallized and analyzed using X-ray crystallography. The entire assembly is cryo-fixed and imaged with a high-end electron microscope. These images are then used to calculate a three-dimensional map of the entire assembly. The X-ray atomic structures of the components can be placed into the electron microscopy map, similar to a jigsaw puzzle, giving rise to a pseudo-atomic resolution structure of the entire assembly. Such an approach results in a tremendous amount of information and allows us to understand the structure and function in atomic detail.

The Laboratory of Structural Biology and Biophysics has ceased EPFL activities in July 2016.

Since then Professor Petr Leiman has moved to University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Press releases about published work

Когда антибиотики бессильны

24.02.2014. Expert.ru

An infection tool with a metallic core

03.12.2013. PSI News

Российские учёные раскрыли атакующий механизм бактерий

03.09.2013. Электронное издание «Наука и технологии России»

Bacterial spears and spear-tips

07.08.2013. EPFL FSB News

Virus wields iron-containing drill to infect bacteria

17.04.2012. New Scientist

The tiny, lethal weapon that viruses use to kill bacteria

10.04.2012. Phys.org

The tiny, lethal weapon that viruses use to kill bacteria

10.04.2012. EPFL MEDIACOM

Bacteria-Killing Viruses Wield an Iron Spike

24.02.2012. ScienceNow

Phage tails contain a central spike protein

22.02.2012. EPFL Research Office Projects


News - Events

Thursday 4 July 2013 17:00 BSP/Cubotron
Congratulations to Dr. Lada SYCHEVA
who defended successfully her public Ph.D. defense entitled:

"Structure and function of proteins involved in attachment and piercing of the bacterial cell envelope"

Thesis director : Prof. P. Leiman
Doctoral program Biotechnology and Bioengineering
Thesis 5820