Nissen Group


Nissen group - Structural and Functional Studies of Membrane Transporters in Brain


The Nissen group investigates molecular mechanisms of membrane transport processes and biomembrane structure. Activities are mainly focused on protein crystallography, biochemistry, electrophysiology, and include also small-angle X-ray scattering and electron microscopy. Main subjects of research concern P-type ATPase (ion pumps and lipid flippases) and Na+ dependent transporters, but include also structure based drug discovery and protein engineering. 

Research focus


The main focus of our research is to investigate the membrane transporters involved with neurological and psychiatric disorders. The Na+, K+-ATPase is of particular interest, since many neurological disorders are linked to the function of this pump, such as function loss in the Na+,K+-ATPase that can lead to severe diseases such as familial hemiplegic migraine and rapid-onset Dystonia with Parkinsonism.

Several different methods are used to study membrane pumps in our research group, such as structural studies including use of nanodiscs, electrophysiology, and hypoxic conditions.

Available projects

The Nissen group currently has projects available for Master and PhD students. Please contact Group Leader Poul Nissen directly, if interested.

A collection of P-type ATPase structures from the Nissen lab. Figure courtesy of Dr. Oleg Sitsel.

News

2016.11.23 | Awards

Poul Nissen awarded the Research Prize from Director Ib Henriksen Foundation

Poul Nissen has been awarded the prestigious Director Ib Henriksen Foundation Research Prize for his outstanding efforts in structural biology. In the center PUMPkin he has determined the structure of a number of essential ion pumps. The importance of these pumps in the heart and in neurological diseases has also been central to Poul Nissen's…

2016.08.09 | Research news

New publication from Poul Nissen's group - Engineering a Prototypic P-type ATPase Listeria monocytogenes Ca2+-ATPase 1 for Single-Molecule FRET Studies

Approximately 30% of the ATP generated in the living cell is utilized by P-type ATPase primary active transporters to generate and maintain electrochemical gradients across biological membranes. P-type ATPases undergo large conformational changes during their functional cycle to couple ATP hydrolysis in the cytoplasmic domains to ion transport…

2016.07.07 | People

Poul Nissen elected for EMBL's Scientific Advisory Committee

Prof. Poul Nissen, core group leader and director of DANDRITE, has been elected as a member of the EMBL's Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), which is EMBL's chief advisory body on scientific matters. Poul Nissen has been elected for a three-year term starting from 1 January 2017.

(a) Purification strategy, (b) experimental methods used for structure determination, and (c) crystallisation methods used for eukaryotic membrane proteins over the last 2 years. Inset summarises the breakdown of usage for the polyHis, FLAG and StrepII entries in (a), respectively. Total values for each entry are indicated over the respective bar.

2016.06.29 | Research news

New publication from Poul Nissen's group - Expression strategies for structural studies of eukaryotic membrane proteins

In collaboration with Bjørn Pedersen's group, Aarhus University. Integral membrane proteins in eukaryotes are central to various cellular processes and key targets in structural biology, biotechnology and drug development. However, the number of available structures for eukaryotic membrane protein belies their physiological importance. Recently,…

2016.05.26 | Research news

New publication from Poul Nissen's group - New discovery from the molecular machinery for depression and addiction

In the study "A Conserved Leucine Occupies the Empty Substrate Site of LeuT in the Na+-free Return State" it is described how a group of the brain’s transport proteins with important roles in depression and dependence overcome the step which limits their effectiveness. The discovery makes it possible to describe the full function of the transport…

2016.04.05 | Awards

Poul Nissen awarded the Aminoff Prize 2016

As the first Dane, Poul Nissen received Thursday the Aminoff Prize 2016 from The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of the structural basis for ATP-driven transport of ions across cell membranes.

2015.09.10 | Awards

DANDRITE director Poul Nissen awarded the international Gregori Aminoff Prize 2016

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Gregori Aminoff Prize in crystallography 2016 to Professor Poul Nissen, Aarhus University. Poul Nissen is the first Dane to receive the Aminoff Prize.

2015.01.28 | Research news

New publication from Poul Nissen's group - New steroid-bound structures of the sodium-potassium pump broaden our knowledge about this enzyme

Na+,K+-ATPase is the ion pump responsible for maintenance of the electrochemical gradients of Na+ and K+ across the membrane of animal cells. Cardiotonic steroids constitute a broad class of specific Na+,K+-ATPase inhibitors, including drugs of clinical importance with multiple physiological effects. The existence of several endogenous cardiotonic…

2014.10.27 | Research news

New publication from Poul Nissen's group - A mechanism for intracellular release of Na+ by neurotransmitter/sodium symporters

Here, we present two crystal structures of ​MhsT, a Neurotransmitter/sodium symporter member from Bacillus halodurans, in occluded inward-facing states with bound Na+ ions and ​L-tryptophan, providing insight into the cytoplasmic release of Na+.

2014.09.29 | Research news

New popular science article by Poul Nissen - How do we show molecules and how they move?

Prof. Poul Nissen publishes popular science article on "How do we show molecules and how they move?" in the special edition of the Biozoom journal ‘You need to see this: Pushing the boundaries of scientific visualization’ (Biozoom Vol 3 (2014)).

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