Laura Bassi Centre of Expertise
COSS - Center for Optimized Structural Studies
The major aim of COSS is to research innovative methods to produce sufficient quantities of high-quality and functionally active protein for structural and functional analysis.
Proteins are the building blocks of life that are responsible for all major cellular functions. Knowing the structure of proteins is critical to understand how they carry out their diverse functions in living cells and what role they may play in the development of disease. However, to determine a protein’s structure at atomic detail requires large quantities of high-quality, fully-functional protein, as well as diffraction-quality crystals when using X-ray methodologies are applied. Taken together, these prerequisites make protein structure analysis a time and labor-intensive process.
In the first “Laura Bassi Centre of Excellence” funding period (2010-2013), the COSS team established an efficient platform for the generation of recombinant proteins, compatible with structural and functional studies. For this, they combined automated expression screening, nested construct design, and optimized crystallization screens.
In the second funding period (2013-2016) they expanded this platform, especially focusing on the production of protein complexes.This included the investigation of protein-protein interactions, and to further develop eukaryotic expression systems for recombinant protein production.
The COSS center is a partnership between MFPL, the University of Vienna and the Vienna Biocenter Core Facilities GmbH (VBCF) as scientific partners on the one side, and the Research Institute for Molecular Pathology (IMP) and BIOMIN Holding GmbH as industrial partners on the other side.
The project is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG as a "Laura Bassi Centre of Expertise". The Laura Bassi funding program promotes research networks at the interface between science and industry that are led by women.
- COSS project description (homepage of the Laura Bassi funding program)