StructureResearch AreasChemical BiologyDmytro Yushchenko

Dmytro Yushchenko

Our main focus is lipid signaling and protein-membrane interactions. Lipids serve not only as energy stores and building blocks of cell membranes, but also are important components of cell signal transduction machinery. They play central role in physiology and disease, determine activity of numerous proteins, including enzymes, channels, receptors. It is not surprising that lipid localization is tightly regulated by cells. Today more than 35000 different lipid species are identified, however, the biological functions only of few of them are understood and described. Some lipids possess multiple roles in cellular membranes (via interactions with different proteins) which strongly depend on lipid concentration, localization, and microenvironment. Unfortunately currently available tool set for probing lipid functions in living cells is very limited that significantly restricts research in the field of lipid signaling and protein-lipid interactions.


To overcome this limitation we develop probes and modulators of protein-lipid interactions for application in vitro and in living cells. Among those are:

  • Environmentally sensitive dyes as reporters of protein-membrane interactions
  • Probes for membrane polarity and rigidity
  • Lipid probes for identification of membrane-interacting proteins
  • Photoactivatable lipids
  • Inducers of protein-protein and protein-lipid interaction

We apply these tools to unravel roles of lipids in:

  • the biology of α-synuclein, the aggregation-prone protein involved in the development of Parkinson's disease
  • β-cell signaling and regulation of insulin secretion