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Alvaro H. Crevenna Lab

We believe that life can be recreated using purified components and that by doing so we uncover fundamental principles. Our aim is to understand the organization and dynamics of macro-molecular complexes and how these give rise to cellular structure and function. Our main tools are single molecule fluorescence microscopy, reconstituted in vitro systems and quantitative cell imaging.

Alvaro H. Crevenna E.
Group Leader
PhD in Biophysics (2006), Technical University Dresden and Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Germany

Phone (+351) 214469724 | Extension 1724



Research Interests

The goal of the lab is to elucidate the fundamental principles of macro-molecular complex organization and dyncamis, and the cellular consequences of those processes.  We thrive to answer questions like: how are multi-subunit complexes assembled? What are the protein dynamics involved during complex assembly? What is the cartography and dynamics of these complexes inside the cells?  How do molecular motions organize, sense and transmit chemical or mechanical information over length scales much larger than their own?

To investigate these problems we use a bottom-up and a top-down approach, or a synthetic and a systems level view.

In the bottom-up approach, we reduce a system to its minimal parts and reconstitute biological processes using purified components. To visualize each component in real time we use single molecule fluorescence microscopy. A particular focus is the use of zero-mode waveguides, nano-fabricated metal apertures deposited on glass. These devices reduce the observation volume by three order of magnitude compared to a confocal allowing real time single molecule studies at physiological concentrations of reactants. We use these nano-devices to elucidate the nucleation steps during filament assembly (e.g. for actin) and to study transient protein-protein interactions.

On an integrative level, we aim to study those proteins of interest within their biological context inside the cell. While we need to map the subcellular cartography in detail (for which we use standard and super-resolution microscopy) we also require understanding dynamics (for which we use live cell quantitative imaging techniques).


Group Members

Looking for prospective PhD students in areas of single molecule fluorescence biophysics, protein biochemistry and molecular cell biology, please read this


Selected Publications

  1. Crevenna A, Blank B, Maiser A, Enim D, Prescher J, Beck G, Kienzle C, Bartnik K, Habermann B, Pakdel M, Leonhardt H, Lamb DC, von Blume J Secretory cargo sorting by Ca2+-dependent Cab45 oligomerization at the trans-Golgi network. Journal of Cell Biology. 2016; 213(3), 305-314

  2. Crevenna AH, Arciniega M, Dupont A, Mizuno N, Kowalska K, Lange OF, Wedlich-Soeldner R, Lamb DC Side-Binding Proteins Modulate Actin Filament Dynamics. eLife. 2015 4

  3. Domìnguez-Escobar J, Chastanet A*, Crevenna AH*, Fromion V, Wedlich-Söldner R, Carballido-López R Processive movement of MreB-associated cell wall biosynthetic complexes in bacteria. Science 2011 Jul 8;333(6039):225-8. Epub 2011 Jun 2.


Laboratory's Website

For further information visit the laboratory's website (under construction)




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