Thomas Günther-Pomorski – University of Copenhagen

Center for Synthetic Biology > Meet the Researchers > Thomas Günther-Pomorski

Thomas Günther-Pomorski

Associate Professor

Section for Transport Biology
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science

Thomas Günther-Pomorski's group researches the organization, function and regulation of membrane pumps. These proteins are nano-machines that perform a wide range of essential cellular functions such as the transport of ions, lipids and metabolites between the cell and the extracellular environment or between cellular compartments.  

Detailed insight into the molecular functioning of these membrane pumps will help to understand vital processes at cellular membranes and pave the way for applications within synthetic biology such as personal medicine, sustainable energy production, and molecular bioelectronics.

However, the study of their roles in these processes at the molecular level is often hampered by the complexity of native membranes. We have therefore set up a number of approaches based on the purification and reconstitution of selected membrane pumps into lipid vesicles or nanodiscs. These comprise ATP-driven membrane pumps of the P-type ATPase and ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter families. A number of biochemical and biophysical methods based on spectroscopic techniques and microscopy have been established for studying their activity in the lipid environment.

These methods have allowed us to monitor and verify successful reconstitution of the membrane proteins and to study their activity as a first step towards a detailed functional and mechanistic characterization at the molecular level. Within the frame of national and international co-operations we are currently in particular working on the identification and characterization of lipid-transporting proteins (lipid flippases).

Figure: Studying membrane pumps reconstituted into giant lipid vesicles. Membranes are composed of a lipid bilayer and embedded proteins (right). Giant vesicles can be prepared to specifically mimic the lipid environment of different cellular membranes and allow for visualization of membrane domains (center) and membrane dynamics (left) by microscopy.


2009-present Associate Professor in Membrane Biology, Section for Transport Biology, Department for Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen
2008 Heisenberg Fellow at the Humboldt University of Berlin
2002-2008  Junior Professor in Cellular Biophysics at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
1999-2002 Post doctoral fellow at the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam
1997-1999 Post doctoral fellow, Max-Planck-Institute for Infectious Diseases, Berlin
1996 PhD in Biophysics, Humboldt University of Berlin

Collaboration within the Center for Synthetic Biology
Seong Wook Yang
Lise Arleth
Dimitrios Stamou
Karen Martinez
Marité Cárdenas Gómez
Poul Erik Jensen
Birger Lindberg Møller

Selected Scientific Publications

Jagalski, V., Barker, R., Thygesen, M.B., Gotfryd, K., Kruger, M., Shi, L., Maric, S., Bovet, N., Moulin, M., Haertlein, M., Gunther Pomorski, T., Loland, C.J. and Cardenas, M. Grafted Biomembranes Containing Membrane Proteins - The Case for the Leucine Transporter. Soft Matter 11, 7707-7711 doi: 10.1039/C5SM01490E  (2015) I.F. 4,457

Kemmer, G.C., Bogh, S.A., Urban, M., Palmgren, M.G., Vosch, T., Schillerd J. and Pomorski, T.G. Lipid-conjugated fluorescent pH sensors for monitoring pH changes in reconstituted membrane systems Analyst 140, 6313-6320. doi: 10.1039/C5AN01180A (2015) I.F. 4.097

López-Marqués, R.L ., Poulsen, L.R.,, Bailly, A ., Geisler, M.,  Pomorski, T.G .& Palmgren, M.G.Structure and mechanism of ATP-dependent phospholipid transporters Biochim Biophys Acta 1850(3), 461-475, doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2014.04.008 (2015)

Justesen, B. J. & Pomorski, T. G. Chromatographic and electrophoretic methods for nanodisc purification and analysis. 
Annual Reviews of Analytical Chemistry 33(3):165-172,  doi:10.1515/revac-2014-0014 (2014)

Maric, S., Thygesen, M.B., Schiller, J., Marek, M., Moulin, M., Haertlein, M., Forsyth, T.V., Bogdanov, M., Dowhan, W., Arleth, L., Pomorski, T.G. Biosynthetic preparation of selectively deuterated phosphatidylcholine in genetically modified Escherichia coli. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology doi:10.1007/s00253-014-6082-z, epub ahead of print (2014). I.F. 4,138

Günther-Pomorski, T., Nylander, T. and Cárdenas, M. Model Cell Membranes: Discerning Lipid and Protein Contributions in Shaping the Cell. Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 205, 207-220. doi:10.1016/j.cis.2013.10.028 (2014).

Maric, S., Thygesen, M.B., Schiller, J., Marek, M., Moulin, M., Haertlein, M., Forsyth, T.V., Bogdanov, M., Dowhan, W., Arleth, L., Pomorski, T.G.Biosynthetic preparation of selectively deuterated phosphatidylcholine in genetically modified Escherichia coli. 
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology doi:10.1007/s00253-014-6082-z, epub ahead of print (2014)

Maric, S., Skar-Gislinge, N., Midtgaard, S., Thygesen, M.B., Schiller, J., Frielinghaus, H., Moulin, M., Haertlein, M., Forsyth, V.T., Pomorski, T.G., Arleth, L. Stealth carriers for low-resolution structure determination of membrane proteins in solution. Acta Crystallographica Section D-Biological Crystallography 70, 317-328, doi:10.1107/s1399004713027466 (2014). I.F. 7,232

Justesen, B. H., Hansen, R.W., Martens, H.J., Theorin, L., Palmgren, M.G., Martinez, K.L., Pomorski, T.G.*, and Fuglsang, A.T.* Active Plasma Membrane P-type H+-ATPase Reconstituted into Nanodiscs Is a Monomer. Journal of Biological Chemistry 288, 26419-26429, doi:10.1074/jbc.M112.446948 (2013). I.F. 5,328  *corresponding authors

Justesen, B. H. Laursen, T., Weber, G., Fuglsang, A.T., Møller, B.L., and Pomorski, T.G. Isolation of Monodisperse Nanodisc-Reconstituted Membrane Proteins Using Free Flow Electrophoresis. Analytical Chemistry 85, 3497-3500, doi:10.1021/ac4000915 (2013). I.F. 5,856

Ruggeri, F., Akesson, A., Chapuis, P.Y., Nielsen, C.A.S., Monopoli, M.P., Dawson, K.A., Pomorski, T.G., Cardenas, M. The dendrimer impact on vesicles can be tuned based on the lipid bilayer charge and the presence of albumin. Soft Matter 9, 8862-8870 doi: 10.1039/c3sm50603g (2013).

Åkesson, A., Lundgaard, C.V., Ehrlich, N., Pomorski, T.G., Stamou, D., and Cardenas, M. Induced dye leakage by PAMAM G6 does not imply dendrimer entry into vesicle lumen. Soft Matter 8, 8972-8980, doi:10.1039/c2sm25864a (2012). I.F. 4,457

Marek, M., Milles, S., Schreiber, G., Daleke, D.L., Dittmar, G., Herrmann, A., Müller, P., Pomorski, T.G. The yeast plasma membrane ABC transporter Aus1: Purification, characterization and effect of lipids on its activity. J. Biol. Chem. 286, 21835-21843, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.244525 (2011).