Understanding co-evolution of membranes and membrane-bound proteins

Prof Snezhana Oliferenko (primary)
Randall Centre, FoLSM
King's College London
Prof Paula Booth (secondary)
King’s College London


Membrane function is fundamental to life. We want to understand how membrane-bound proteins adapt to changes in membrane lipid composition and investigate if heritable changes to the lipid metabolic toolbox may lead to the emergence of new functional solutions shaping cellular physiology in evolution. This goal will be achieved by integrating biophysics, biochemistry, bioinformatics and synthetic cell biology approaches in two related yeast species with different physiologies. Our work will provide critical insights into general principles underlying organization and plasticity of cellular physiological pathways linked to membrane function.


Makarova, M., Gu, Y., Chen, J-S., Beckley, J., Gould, K. and S. Oliferenko. 2016. Temporal regulation of Lipin activity diverged to account for differences in mitotic programs. Current Biology. 26: 237-243.

Gu, Y. and S. Oliferenko. 2019. Cellular geometry scaling ensures robust division site positioning. Nature Communications. 10:268. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-08218-2

Sanders, M. R., Findlay, H. E. and Booth, P.J. 2018. Lipid bilayer composition modulates the unfolding free energy of a knotted alpha-helical membrane protein. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115: E1799-E1808

Reading, E., Hall, Z., Martens, C., Haghighi, T., Findlay, H., Ahdash, Z., Politis, A. and Booth, P.J. 2017. Interrogating Membrane Protein Conformational Dynamics within Native Lipid Compositions. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 56: 15654-15657

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
Chemical BiologyEvolution
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBioinformaticsBiophysicsChemistryEngineeringGeneticsImage ProcessingMathematics / StatisticsMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular Biology