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Roland Lill

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Roland Lill

Institut für Zytobiologie
Philipps-Universität Marburg

 
Roland Lill

Roland Lill received his diploma in Biochemistry in 1981 from the University of Munich.  Lill stayed at the University of Munich and took the position of Research Assistant from 1982-1985 and then his Post-doctoral Fellowship from 1986-1987.  Lill went on to continue his Post-doctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1987-1989.  He returned to the University of Munich and became a Senior Research Assistant from 1990-1996.  In 1996 he took the position of Associate Professor at Universität Marburg and would become a full professor in 2002.  Dr. Lill has remained at Universität Marburg since and has focused his research on Biosynthesis of cellular iron-sulfur proteins and Mechanisms of cellular iron regulation.

Research in his group concentrates on the molecular mechanisms of the biogenesis of iron-sulfur (Fe/S) proteins in eukaryotes. These proteins contain Fe/S clusters as inorganic co-factors, and they participate in electron transfer reactions, enzyme catalysis and the regulation of various cellular processes. Important cellular processes such as respiration, citric acid cycle, numerous metabolic reactions, DNA synthesis and repair, ribosome biogenesis, tRNA modification and iron regulation require assistance of these ancient protein cofactors. Assembly of the Fe/S clusters and their insertion into apoproteins in a living cell is a complex process involving more than 25 proteins. The mitochondrial ISC assembly machinery (see Figure) was inherited from bacteria and is involved in biogenesis of all cellular Fe/S proteins, i.e. proteins in mitochondria, cytosol and nucleus. Maturation of extra-mitochondrial proteins additionally needs components of the mitochondrial ISC export machinery and proteins of the cytosolic CIA machinery. According to a model mitochondria export a factor (X in Figure) which is essential for Fe/S protein biogenesis in the cytosol by the CIA machinery.

Another topic of his research is the intracellular compartmentalization and regulation of iron. In particular, we are interested in the components and mechanisms involved in iron transport and regulation in mitochondria. Mitochondrial import depends on reduced (ferrous) iron, a membrane potential, and involves the mitochondrial carrier proteins Mrs3/Mrs4 (see Figure). Additional iron transporters remain to be identified. Defects in mitochondrial ISC components result in an increased cellular iron uptake and in iron accumulation in mitochondria. The molecular basis underlying the (dys)regulation of cellular iron compartmentation as a result of Fe/S protein defects is unclear to date.

 

Learn more about Dr. Lill here.

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