Research interests in our research group

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 crystallography, was utilized. After this, we have been able to show that the large scale structural changes are ubiquitous in many bacteriophytochrome systems. By combining spectroscopic experimental observations with the X-ray scattering data, we have characterized the structural changes of the full-length bacteriophytochromes and their monomeric counterparts. Furthermore, we have reported about interdimeric interactions of the subunits and the influence of the quaternary structures to the thermal reversion from the illuminated state to the dark adapted state. In addition, we have been able to characterize the excited state reactions of biliverdin and advanced the know-how about new and potential phytochrome-based red fluorescent proteins. 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.

Selected publications

Publication 1

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Publication 2

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Publication 3

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