Schur Group

Structural Biology of Cell Migration and Viral Infection

Structural plasticity and movement play fundamental roles in life, from the level of whole organisms down to cells, viruses and individual molecules. The Schur group uses advanced cryo-electron microscopy and image processing methods to study the structure and function of protein complexes in situ, where they can adopt different conformations or are continuously remodeled.

The Schur group focuses on the dynamic actin cytoskeleton, the key player in the ability of cells to move. Actin-mediated cell migration is important in physiological events as embryonic development or wound healing, but deregulation of these processes leads to pathologies including tumor cell metastasis and pathogen infection. The team thus aims to understand the underlying structural principles that control these complex mechanisms. In addition, they are studying complex and irregular viruses, including retroviruses and selected DNA-viruses, where the latter are also important model organisms to understand actin-mediated pathogen propulsion. Viruses are useful tools for electron microscopy method development, but deciphering their structure is also crucial for understanding features of the viral lifecycle, as assembly and infection

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Current Projects

Cellular structural biology of the actin cytoskeleton and cell migration | Structural Conservation and Diversity of Retroviral Capsid | Cryo-electron tomography and image processing method development


Obr M, Ricana CL, Nikulin N, Feathers J-PR, Klanschnig M, Thader A, Johnson MC, Vogt VM, Schur FK, Dick RA. 2021. Structure of the mature Rous sarcoma virus lattice reveals a role for IP6 in the formation of the capsid hexamer. Nature Communications. 12(1), 3226. View

Morandell J, Schwarz LA, Basilico B, Tasciyan S, Dimchev GA, Nicolas A, Sommer CM, Kreuzinger C, Dotter C, Knaus L, Dobler Z, Cacci E, Schur FK, Danzl JG, Novarino G. 2021. Cul3 regulates cytoskeleton protein homeostasis and cell migration during a critical window of brain development. Nature Communications. 12(1), 3058. View

Fäßler F, Dimchev GA, Hodirnau V-V, Wan W, Schur FK. 2020. Cryo-electron tomography structure of Arp2/3 complex in cells reveals new insights into the branch junction. Nature Communications. 11, 6437. View

Fäßler F, Zens B, Hauschild R, Schur FK. 2020. 3D printed cell culture grid holders for improved cellular specimen preparation in cryo-electron microscopy. Journal of Structural Biology. 212(3), 107633. View

Dick RA, Xu C, Morado DR, Kravchuk V, Ricana CL, Lyddon TD, Broad AM, Feathers JR, Johnson MC, Vogt VM, Perilla JR, Briggs JAG, Schur FK. 2020. Structures of immature EIAV Gag lattices reveal a conserved role for IP6 in lentivirus assembly. PLOS Pathogens. 16(1), e1008277. View

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since 2017 Assistant Professor, IST Austria
2016 – 2017 Postdoc, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany
2016 PhD, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg and University of Heidelberg, Germany

Selected Distinctions

2020 FWF Standalone research grant
2018 FWF Standalone research grant
2016 Paper of the Year Award, Journal of Structural Biology
2016 F1000 Article recommendation 
2013 F1000 Article recommendation

Additional Information

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