Department of Macromolecular Structures

Cell adhesion 2 PLoS

The department’s interests embrace a large number of biological problems, from fundamental questions associated with protein folding (José M. Valpuesta) to the functional and structural characterization of different molecular machines, especially virus structures and their components (José M. Casasnovas, José L. Carrascosa, José R. Castón, Cristina Risco, Carmen San Martín, Mark van Raaij) and DNA repair nanomachines (Fernando Moreno-Herrero). They use the numerous structural and biophysical techniques available in the department, including X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, single-molecule techniques (optical and magnetic tweezers) and various state-of-the-art spectroscopic techniques.

A strength of our department is the development of microscopy techniques, such as atomic force, optical and X-ray microscopy and, in particular, transmission electron microscopy in its variants (single-particle cryoelectron microscopy and cryoelectron tomography), which received a hefty boost with the acquisition of state-of-the-art 300 kV cryoelectron microscope equipped with a direct electron detector, energy filter and sample autoloader and a 200 kV cryoelectron microscope, equipped with a direct electron detector and sample autoloader. Another important milestone in the department is the acquisition of all the necessary equipment to carry out cryocorrelative microscopy electron. All this equipment has been installed at the cryoelectron microscopy facility of the CNB, open to users worldwide.

Electron microscopy work is strongly supported by continuous software development in the field of image processing (José M. Carazo, José J. Fernández), a major asset in the selection of the CNB as host of the image processing centre of INSTRUCT, a pan-European research infrastructure network facility that provides expertise and access to high quality instruments. Technical developments are also pursued in the field of proteomics (Fernando Corrales), where the CNB lead the Spanish proteomic facilities network (ProteoRed), and participates in the Human Proteome project.


Head of Department: José María Valpuesta



Three-dimensional electron microscopy: image processing challenges. José María Carazo and Carlos Oscar Sánchez Sorzano

Cell-cell and virus-cell interactions. José María Casasnovas

Structure of macromolecular assemblies. José L. Carrascosa

Viral molecular machines. José R. Castón

Functional Proteomics. Fernando Corrales

Electron tomography and image processing of cell structures. José J. Fernández

        Ultrastructure of viruses and molecular aggregates. Jaime Martín Benito

Molecular Biophysics of DNA repair Nanomachines. Fernando Moreno-Herrero

Cell Structure Laboratory. Cristina Risco

Structural and physical determinants of viral assembly. Carmen San Martín

Structure and function of molecular chaperones. José María Valpuesta

Structural biology of viral fibres. Mark van Raaij

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