Environmentally-sensitive dyes as reporters of protein-membrane interactions

We develop protein labels that strongly change their fluorescence properties upon binding of a labeled protein to membranes. We design a new generation of highly solvatochromic fluorophores based on 3-hydroxyflavone, prodan and fluorene derivatives, and also convert known fluorophores to suitable Cys-reactive derivatives.


Relevant papers: Shvadchak et al. 2011.
People: Yevhenii Kyriukha and Oleksandr Kucherak

Probes for membrane polarity and rigidity

Plasma membrane plays important role in life cycle of a cell. It participates in vital biological processes such as transport and signaling, and is crucial for maintaining cellular homeostasis. Membrane functions strongly rely on basic chemical properties (lipid and protein composition) as well as physical properties (thickness, charge, potential, hydration, polarity and rigidity).

We work on development of molecular membrane probes based on environmentally sensitive fluorophores (also known as solvatochromic dyes). The successful membrane probes that we developed together with Klymchenko and Mély labs are based on fluorophore (sensing unit) with zwitterion group and aliphatic chain permitting probe localization at the region of lipid polar heads. Such probes report the changes of membrane charge, rigidity and sterol content by changing their fluorescent properties.


Current project is focused on the design and synthesis of new probes for membrane polarity and rigidity to investigate the cell membrane behavior during cell proliferation, exo- and endocytosis, apoptosis and other relevant events.

Relevant papers: Kucherak et al. 2010a, Kucherak et al. 2010b and Darwich et al. 2013.
People: Oleksandr Kucherak

Kinetics and mechanism of α-synuclein amyloid fibril formation

During Parkinson's disease small neuronal protein α-synuclein forms amyloid fibrils that form pathological inclusions in brains of patients. α-Synuclein fibrillization is autocatalytic and its mechanism is similar to misfolding of prion proteins.


We study the kinetics of amyloid fibril growth and reaction intermediates in order to find the rate-limiting step that could be used for the development of fibrillization inhibitors.

Relevant papers: Shvadchak et al. 2015 and Yushchenko et al. 2014 .
People: Volodymyr Shvadchak and Kseniia Afitska