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Lipid asymmetry: a cellular battery?

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 ASYMMEM project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the ASYMMEM project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "ASYMMEM" about.

biological    consequently    store    textbook    probes    implies    justification    motility    mostly    vitro    least    intense    signalling    removed    membrane    asymmetric    equilibrium    situation    components    it    ultimately    serves    quantify    maintained    plasma    quasi    virtually    function    fuel    dynamic    regard    linked    machinery    rapid    microscopy    continued    genetic    bilayer    trans    suited    instance    protein    notion    break    explaining    tools    focussing    movement    energy    lipid    almost    basic    fusion    steady    localized    biosensors    inner    dynamics    fundamental    mechanistic    evolution    analysing    sciences    area    fission    perturbations    reconstitute    remodelling    model    leaflets    quantifying    asymmetry    photochemical    events    force    driving    organisms    hub    membranes    structures    existence    clear    local    light    regulating    pave    kinetics    unknown    cell    employ    life    monitoring    ground    display    thermodynamic    timescales    chemical    outer    cellular   

Project "ASYMMEM" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: Munich
postcode: 80539

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Total cost 1˙500˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙500˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-01-01   to  2022-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

It is a basic textbook notion that the plasma membranes of virtually all organisms display an asymmetric lipid distribution between inner and outer leaflets far removed from thermodynamic equilibrium. As a fundamental biological principle, lipid asymmetry has been linked to numerous cellular processes. However, a clear mechanistic justification for the continued existence of lipid asymmetry throughout evolution has yet to be established. We propose here that lipid asymmetry serves as a store of potential energy that is used to fuel energy-intense membrane remodelling and signalling events for instance during membrane fusion and fission. This implies that rapid, local changes of trans-membrane lipid distribution rather than a continuously maintained out-of-equilibrium situation are crucial for cellular function. Consequently, new methods for quantifying the kinetics of lipid trans-bilayer movement are required, as traditional approaches are mostly suited for analysing quasi-steady-state conditions. Addressing this need, we will develop and employ novel photochemical lipid probes and lipid biosensors to quantify localized trans-bilayer lipid movement. We will use these tools for identifying yet unknown protein components of the lipid asymmetry regulating machinery and analyse their function with regard to membrane dynamics and signalling in cell motility. Focussing on cell motility enables targeted chemical and genetic perturbations while monitoring lipid dynamics on timescales and in membrane structures that are well suited for light microscopy. Ultimately, we aim to reconstitute lipid asymmetry as a driving force for membrane remodelling in vitro. We expect that our work will break new ground in explaining one of the least understood features of the plasma membrane and pave the way for a new, dynamic membrane model. Since the plasma membrane serves as the major signalling hub, this will have impact in almost every area of the life sciences.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Nicolai Wagner, Milena Stephan, Doris Höglinger, André Nadler
A Click Cage: Organelle-Specific Uncaging of Lipid Messengers
published pages: 13339-13343, ISSN: 1433-7851, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201807497
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 57/40 2019-08-29
2017 Alf Honigmann, André Nadler
The Next Frontier: Quantitative Biochemistry in Living Cells
published pages: 47-55, ISSN: 0006-2960, DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b01060
Biochemistry 57/1 2019-08-29
2019 Milena Schuhmacher, Andreas T. Grasskamp, Nicolai Wagner, Benoit Lomardot, Jan. S. Schuhmacher, Pia Sala, Annett Lohmann, Ian Henry, Andrej Shevchenko, Ünal Coskun, Alexander Walter, André Nadler
Adressing lipid structural diversity in signalling: Photochemcial probes for live-cell lipid biochemistry (reprint)
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI: 10.1101/711291
2019 Nicolai Wagner, Milena Schuhmacher, Annett Lohmann, André Nadler
A coumarin triflate reagent enables one‐step synthesis of photo‐caged lipid metabolites for studying cell signaling
published pages: , ISSN: 0947-6539, DOI: 10.1002/chem.201903909
Chemistry – A European Journal 2019-09-05

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