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Heme protein and endospore biogenesis

Tetrapyrroles are sometimes called the pigments of life because they are colored and involved in fundamental processes of life such as photosynthesis and respiration. Various kinds of chlorophylls and hemes are the most abundant tetrapyrrole compounds on earth. Other important tetrapyrroles such as vitamin B12 and siroheme are present in trace amounts. Heme is the prosthetic group in cytochromes (which function in electron transport), mixed function oxidases such as P450 enzymes (which function in detoxification) and hemoglobins (which function in gas transport, most prominently oxygen transport). One line of research of the group aims at a better understanding of how various types of hemes are synthesised and incorporated into proteins in cells. Another line of research concerns peptidoglycan synthesis and especially functions of penicillin-binding proteins in endospore cortex biogenesis. Two Gram-positive bacteria are used as the principal test-organisms: Bacillus subtilis, which is a harmless, endospore-forming, soil-bacterium for which a wealth of information is available, and Enterococcus faecalis which is found in the intestine of animals and can cause disease in humans.

The two main research areas are presented on separate pages.

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