Faculty of Biological Sciences

Dr David Brockwell

An unfolding story of protein stability...

My lab is interested in finding out what happens when a mechanical force is applied to proteins and protein complexes.

Why?

At the cellular level, force or mechanical deformation plays a vital role in many diverse processes:

  • many proteins resist mechanical deformation to preserve cell integrity
  • some proteins act as force sensors, triggering intracellular events from extracellular signals
  • other proteins are actively pulled apart to facilitate movement across cellular barriers while others are efficiently degraded.
  • very stable protein complexes can be rapidly remodelled by the application of very small forces

We use single molecule methods, protein engineering and biochemical techniques to understand how the application of force affects the properties of proteins at the level of single protein molecules.