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Catch me if you can – Macromolecular complexes shaping adaptive immunity

Robert Tampé studies life at the molecular level. He elucidates the mechanisms of cellular protein machinery using molecular and biophysical tools. He received many awards including an ERC Advanced Grant.


Identifying and eliminating infected or malignantly transformed cells are fundamental tasks of our adaptive immune system. For immune surveillance, the cell’s metastable proteome is displayed as broken bits (peptides) on major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I) molecules to cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. Our knowledge about the track from the cellular proteome to the presentation of peptides has greatly expanded, leading to a quite comprehensive understanding of the antigen processing pathway. The seminar will report on the mechanism of antigen translocation, chaperoning, editing, and ER quality control. Following on an integrative approach, the contribution of individual proteins as well as the architecture of the MHC I peptide-loading complex (PLC) and other MHC I chaperone complexes, also in the context of viral immune evasion, will be addressed. The work provides the framework for understanding the quality control of antigen selection and unveils the molecular details underlying the onset of an adaptive immune response.



  1. Blees A, Januliene D, Hofmann T, Koller N, Schmidt C, Trowitzsch S, Moeller A, Tampé R (2017) Structure of the human MHC-I peptide-loading complex. Nature 551, 525-8.

  2. Thomas C, Tampé R (2017) Structure of the TAPBPR-MHC I complex defines the mechanism of peptide loading and editing. Science 358, 1060-4.

  3. Nöll et al. (2017) Structure and mechanistic basis of a functional homolog of the antigen transporter TAP. PNAS 114, 438.

  4. Kim et al. (2015) Subnanometer cryo-EM structure of a nucleotide free heterodimeric ABC exporter. Nature 517, 396-400.



ERC Investigator Life Sciences

Institute of Biochemistry, Biocenter, Goethe University Frankfurt
Research Center CRC 807 – Membrane Transport and Communication

Research tracks

Chemistry of Life

More information

Robert Tampé's homepage

Keynote speaker

Tuesday 10 December

14:05 - 14:35h

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CHAINS 2019 is organised by NWO Domain Science with the support of partners Holland Chemistry and KNCV