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Welcome to the Landau Lab

Lab’s Date of Birth: September 2012

Virulent and Antibacterial Fibrils in Infectious and Aggregation Diseases

Amyloids are protein oligomers and fibers which are known mainly in the context of neurodegenerative diseases yet are secreted by species across kingdoms of life to carry out physiological function and help survival and activity. Their function as key virulence factors in microbes has rendered them attractive candidates for structural characterization aimed at discovering novel antivirulence therapeutics. Our laboratory pioneered the atomic-level analysis of bacterial amyloids and eukaryotic functional fibrils involved in cytotoxicity, biofilm structuring, and antibacterial activity. Our findings thus far exposed an extreme structural diversity, extending beyond canonical amyloid cross-β structures, and encoding different activities. In particular, the discovery of a novel class of cross-α amyloid fibrils of toxic peptides presented a unique protein architecture, offered drug targets and leads, and opened a fresh perspective to study amyloid-related toxicity. Moreover, we revealed that amyloids secreted by bacteria show similarities in molecular structures to human amyloids involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This might raise concerns about the involvement of microbes in facilitating these diseases, similar to prion proteins transmitted by contaminated meat that elicit the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. In addition, we identified peptides produced across species that provide antimicrobial protection that form amyloid fibrils and determined their first high resolution structures. This amyloid-antimicrobial link proposes a physiological role in neuroimmunity for human amyloids. Such antimicrobial fibrils can facilitate the design of functional and stable nanostructures to serve as a stable coating for medical devices or implants, industrial equipment, food packing and more.

We are in desperate need for Cryogenic Electron Microscopes (Cryo-EM)!!

Cryo-EM and cryo‐electron tomography (cryo‐ET) are required for studying the detailed structure of macromolecules, and the architecture of cells, viruses and protein assemblies at molecular and atomic resolution, leading to numerous discoveries and applications for drug discovery and delivery, nanotechnology, and different indistries.
In Israel, accessibility to this technology is lacking. Please see a report (In Hebrew) on the subject written by an Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities appointed committee headed by Prof. Ada Yonat.

Group Pictures

Group Picture 2019

IMG_3293 IMG_3297 IMG_3298 IMG_3303

Lab members: Eilon, Hanan, Itai, Itzik, Orli, Meytal, Nimrod, Nir, Peleg, and Roee

Group Picture 2018

From left to right: Itzik, Ofir, Orli, Itai, Meytal, Nimrod, Nir

Group Picture 2017
group picture

From left to right: Itzik, Sunny, Einav, Orli, Meytal, Nir, Michal, May (and Kiara)

Group Picture 2015
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From left to right: Sergei, Yulia, Einav, Meytal, Orly, Michal, Asher

Current Funding:

We are grateful for funding from the Technion, Israel Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, Israel Science Foundation – Individual Research Grant, and U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) 

Past Funding:

We are grateful for funding from the Technion, DIP – Deutsch-Israelische Projektkooperation, University of Michigan – Israel Collaborative Research Grant, Henri Gutwirth Fund for the Promotion of Research, Israel Science Foundation – Individual Research Grant, U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF), Marie Curie Reintegration Grant, the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and The Israel Science Foundation (I-CORE Center of Excellence in Integrated Structural Cell Biology), the Henry Taub Prize for Academic Excellence. Umbrella Cooperation – When Life Sciences and Engineering Converge, Eliyahu Pen research Fund, Mallat Family Research Fund, J. and A. Taub Biological Research, and Alon Fellowship from the Israeli Council for Higher Education.