A Novel Supramolecular System for Membrane Fusion and Biosensing


The construction of supramolecular systems from the bottom-up; using simple components to create more complex, functional materials, is an area of burgeoning research. In this project I will create a novel supramolecular system that can fulfil both a fundamental and an applied research purpose. Initially, I will demonstrate that the system can be used as a novel model for SNARE-mediated membrane fusion. In the body, SNARE proteins mediate vesicle fusion and as such are implicated in several disease states. The specific mechanisms of membrane fusion are currently poorly understood, hence the need for model systems which have been developed to help further our understanding of this process. The supramolecular system which I propose to develop will more closely mimic the SNARE complex than other previously published systems and can therefore be used to provide insights into the mechanisms of membrane fusion. I intend to focus on protein-lipid interactions as these are thought to be crucial to the fusion process. It is envisaged that the insights gained will help further our understanding of the intricacies of the fusion process, which could have implications for the development of treatments for diseases caused by impaired fusion.

The second part of this project will focus on developing this novel supramolecular system for use as an environmental biosensor. Through simple mutations to the peptidic components of the system, a cadmium ion-responsive device can be developed which will provide a colorimetric readout in response to the presence of cadmium contaminants in water samples. The system will be cost-effective, easy to use, and will provide an instant, visible readout making it suitable for use on-site and negating the need for specialist equipment. Further development of such a system could potentially allow for detection of a wide range of metal ions at varying sensitivities.


Wetenschappelijk artikel

  • W Jiskoot, J Bussmann, A Kros, N Sommerdijk, P Bomans, J Tu, A L Boyle, H Friedrich(2016): Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles with Large Pores for the Encapsulation and Release of Proteins ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces pp. 32211 - 32219
  • G Martelli, A Kros, F Versluis, J Raap, A L Boyle, T Zheng, M Bulacu, G J A Sevink, J Voskhul, G Daudey(2016): A non-zipper-like tetrameric coiled coil promotes membrane fusion RSC Advances pp. 7990 - 7998
  • R Bockmann, A Boyle, A Kros, J Raap, V de Wert, B Bechinger, C Aisenbrey, M Rabe, K Pluhackova, S Kirsch, D Bruggeman(2016): A Coiled-coil Peptide Shaping Lipid Bilayers upon Fusion Biophysical Journal pp. 2162 - 2175





Dr. A.L. Boyle

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen, Leiden Institute of Chemistry


Dr. A.L. Boyle, N.B. Niet Bekend en Niet Gebruiken


01/01/2016 tot 15/01/2019