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Mini-gustducin: A novel tool for studying taste receptors in their active conformation at Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet


Sweet, umami, and bitter tastes allow us to enjoy homecooked meals, and motivate us to seek out Michelin star restaurants. However, gustatory perception is also tied to survival and helps our bodies identify toxins, maintain nutrition, and regulate gastrointestinal motility. The receptors involved in taste signaling are well-known, but details on their molecular mechanisms remain uncharacterized. The Autzen Lab is working on advancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying sweet, umami, and bitter taste perception and is looking for motivated students who wants to join the team.


Mini-G proteins are engineered Gα subunits that are used in structural and functional characterization of fully activated G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). A handful of stable mini-G proteins are available, however, Mini-G proteins representing Gα subunits involved in taste signaling are not, limiting structural and functional characterization of several families of taste receptors.

In this project, you will expand upon the mini-G protein library to include mini-G proteins relevant for taste transduction and to characterize these mini-G proteins with biophysical assays on their own and in complex with taste receptors.


Depending on the project level and duration, projects will entail:

  • Cell transfection or transduction with DNA or baculovirus particles (HEK293)
  • Protein expression (E. coli or HEK293)
  • Protein purification (affinity and size-exclusion chromatography)
  • Mammalian cell culture (HEK293)
  • Biochemical assays (in vitro) and analysis
  • Negative stain electron microscopy
  • Cryo-electron microscopy


We offer you great opportunities for personal and professional development, and an exciting and stimulating research project set in an inclusive, creative, fun, and international environment. We have access to a wide selection of state-of-the-art equipment for cellular, biochemical, and biophysical protein characterization.

Read more on our website: www.autzenlab.com


We are looking for motivated candidates with an interest in biochemistry, structural biology, and/or pharmacology to join our team.

The project can be tailored to the BSc and MSc level and to a 3–6-month ERASMUS exchange.

Please state why you are interested in joining the lab, including how it fits into your career and educational goals. Please include a list of your completed courses.

Contact/Kontakt: Henriette E. Autzen, henriette.autzen@bio.ku.dk

Location/Sted: Section for Biomolecular Sciences, Linderstrøm-Lang Centre for

Protein Science / Sektion for Biomolekylære Videnskaber

Biocenter, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, 2200 København N

Keywords: Molekylærbiologi, molecular biology, kloning, cloning, proteinkemi, protein chemistry, biokemi, biochemistry, proteiner, proteins, membrane protein, membranprotein, structural biology, strukturbiologi, pharmacology, farmakologi, ERASMUS

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