UMass Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Institute for Cellular Engineering



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Alejandro Heuck

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-2497

Fluorescence spectroscopy applied to membrane protein interactions. Development of molecular probes to detect cholesterol levels in cellular membranes

Using multiple independent fluorescence techniques we are investigating the role of cholesterol in pore formation and the nature of the Perfringolysin O(PFO)-cholesterol interaction. We have found that different PFO mutants binds to membranes containing different cholesterol levels. We are now optimizing the PFO sensitivity to cholesterol in a non-lytic variant to develop a molecular probe for cell imaging and cholesterol levels' detection.


Research Interest

Potential Application

Pore-forming bacterial toxins

Delivery of macromolecules into cells

Engineering bacterial protein to develop cholesterol sensing probes

Detection of cholesterol levels on cell membranes using fluorescence imaging, flow cytometry, and other techniques

Fluorescence spectroscopy

Study of membrane protein interactions

Protein translocation through cellular membranes

Delivery of proteins into targeted cells

University of Massachusetts
Institute for Cellular Engineering
686 North Pleasant Street
159 Goessmann Laboratory
Amherst, MA 01003