Employees – University of Copenhagen

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Plant and Environmental Sciences > Employees

Daniel Straub

Daniel Straub

Postdoc

  • Copenhagen Plant Science Center

    Thorvaldsensvej 40

    1871 Frederiksberg C

    Phone: +45 35 33 34 79

Member of:

    MicroProteins: Negative regulators of protein function

    Proteins mediate most biological processes. However, proteins seldom function alone but interact with other proteins. Thus, the formation of higher order protein complexes greatly expands the matrix of protein function. MicroProteins are important modulators, because they are able to prevent other proteins from forming functional complexes.

    We define microProteins as small, usually single domain proteins that disrupt the formation of homodimeric, heterodimeric or multimeric complexes. MicroProteins usually have a strong inhibitory potential, which results in a dominant negative effect on the target protein’s function. The term ‘microProtein’ was coined due to their small size and negative regulatory similarity to microRNAs. In the past years, around 20 microProteins have been identified and experimentally validated.

    MicroProteins can be encoded as single entities in the genome and they evolved during the genome duplication events by domain degeneration and subsequent domain loss. However, alternative transcription processes such as splicing, polyadenylation and transcription start site choice may also generate microProteins.

    What we do to find new microProteins

    We have identified novel microProtein candidates using a computational approach taking into account either the evolutionary relationship of microProteins with their ancestors or alternative transcription. All known microProteins are targeting transcription factors, however we can find many microProtein candidates related to non-transcription factors. It appears that microProteins are represented in many pathways and originate from various protein families.

    I am developing scripts to identify microProtein candidates in whole proteoms and apply them to available data. We focus on well studied model plants but extent our studies also to other kingdoms of life.

    My motivation

    My aim is to use my experience in bioinformatics and my understanding of molecular biology to contribute to projects combining these two research areas.

    ID: 124408851