Spectroscopy for detecting dynamics of biomolecules
Research topic: Spectroscopy on biomolecules
The group of Janne Ihalainen (JYU/NSC) started at the division of Cell and Molecular Biology in January 2009. The research interests of the group lay at the intersection of biology, chemistry and physics. The general aim is to detect fast molecular time-scale processes in nature, which facilitates understanding of the mechanism of biological reactions. Our group has two main research objectives: 1) New strategies for detecting light-activated structural and chemical changes of red light photosensory proteins and 2) development of vibrational spectroscopic tools for detecting uncoating processes of viral particles.
Last years we have progressed our research considerably. The biggest breakthrough was achieved when we detected crystal and solution structures from resting and active states of red light photosensor protein (bacteriophytochromes) in a kinetic manner . For this, a novel technique time-resolved X-ray solution scattering together with X-ray crystallographic was utilized. Also, we have been able to characterize in great detail new and potential phytochrome-based red fluorescent proteins [2-4]. In terms of virus research, we have revealed measures from the virus uncoacting process by detecting Raman spectroscopic signals in its native and disrupted states of Echovirus 1 . In addition, we collaborate closely with several other groups in NSC and abroad and contribute their objectives by spectroscopic experiments [6,7].
Structural changes of phytochrome proteins. The resting state (Pr) appears in the darkness. After absorbing red light (600-700 nm) phytochromes transfers via several intermediate states to a so-called Pfr state.
PhD-student positions available: The Department of Biological and Environmental Science currently seeks PhD-students for our project!
 H. Takala, A. Björling, O. Berntsson, H. Lehtivuori, S. Niebling, M. Hoernke, I. Kosheleva, R. Henning, A. Menzel, J.A. Ihalainen, and S. Westenhoff: Signal amplification and transduction in phytochrome photosensors, Nature 509, 245-249, (2014).
 H. Lehtivuori, I. Rissanen, H. Takala, J. Bamford, N.V. Tkachenko, and J.A. Ihalainen: Excited state properties of chromophore-binding domain of bacteriophytochrome from Deinococcus radiodurans, J. Phys. Chem. B 117, 11049-11057 (2013).
 H. Takala, H. Lehtivuori, H. Hammaren, V.P. Hytönen, and J.A. Ihalainen: Connection between Absorption Properties and Conformational Changes in Deinococcus radiodurans Phytochrome, Biochemistry. In Press (2014)
 T.-R. Tero, K. Salorinne, H. Lehtivuori, J.A. Ihalainen, and M. Nissinen, “The structural diversity of benzofuran Resorcinarene leads to enhanced fluorescence”, Chemistry an Asian J. 9, 1860-1867 (2014).
 S. Baieva, J.A. Ihalainen, J.J. Toppari, “Strong coupling between surface plasmon polaritons and β-carotene in nanolayered system”, J. Chem. Phys. 138, 044707 (2013).