Structural Biology of Cell Migration and Viral Infection

Everything in life is dynamic. Movement plays a fundamental role, from the level of whole organisms down to individual cells. Wound healing, embryonic development, fertilization and immune responses all rely on the cells' ability to move. Deregulation of these processes often leads to pathologies including tumor cell metastasis, developmental disorders and pathogen infection. The key player in the ability of cells to move is the so-called actin cytoskeleton. In the evolutionary arms race between host and pathogen, different bacteria and viruses have developed ways to hijack the cell’s own moving machinery to their own advantage, e.g. for infection, replication and spread.

The aim of our group is to obtain a detailed understanding of the structures in the dynamic environment of the actin cytoskeleton in migrating cells, and in cases where pathogens exploit actin-related host mechanisms.

In order to structurally elucidate the molecular details underlying these processes we employ and will actively develop state-of-the-art cryo-electron tomography methods. These techniques allow us to visualize protein structures directly within their native environments, thus providing an understanding of the structure within its functional context.

We additionally use novel images processing tools, which in combination with cryo-electron tomography have recently allowed us to obtain high-resolution structures from within pleomorphic virus particles and offer a unique potential towards cellular structural biology (see Schur FKM et al, 2016, Science, 353). As a second approach in the lab, we continue our efforts to reveal the structure of other pleomorphic viruses at the highest possible resolution, which will give important insights into the process of viral assembly.

If you want to know even more about how we are and what we do, visit our group webpage.

Florian Schur
Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria)
Am Campus 1
A – 3400 Klosterneuburg

»CV and Publication List

»Schur group website

Lena Marr

Phone: +43 (0)2243 9000-1073


  • Darya Chernikova, Academic Visitor
  • Florian Fäßler, Predoctoral Visiting Scientist
  • Marco Kuslar, Scientific Intern
  • Andreas Thader, Technician
  • Georgi Alexandrov Dimchev, Postdoc

Selected Publications

  • Schur FKM, Obr M, Hagen WJH, Wan W, Jakobi AJ, Kirkpatrick JM, Sachse C, Kräusslich H-G, Briggs JAG, (2016), An atomic model of HIV-1 capsid-SP1 reveals structures regulating assembly and maturation, Science, 353(6298):506-508
  • Mattei S*, Schur FKM*, Briggs JA, (2016). Retrovirus maturation - an extraordinary structural transformation. Current Opinion in Virology 18, 27-35.
  • Schur FKM, Hagen WJ, Rumlová M, Ruml T, Müller B, Kräusslich HG, Briggs JA. (2015). Structure of the immature HIV-1 capsid in intact virus particles at 8.8 Å resolution. Nature 517:505-508.
  • Schur FKM*, Dick RA*, Hagen WJH, Vogt VM, Briggs JAG. (2015). The structure of the immature-like Rous sarcoma virus Gag particles reveals a structural role for the p10 domain in assembly. Journal of Virology. 89(20):10294-302.
  • Schur FKM, Hagen WJ, de Marco A, Briggs JA. (2013) Determination of protein structure at 8.5A resolution using cryo-electron tomography and sub-tomogram averaging. Journal of Structural Biology. 184(3):394-400.
  • Koestler SA, Steffen A, Nemethova M, Winterhoff M, Luo N, Holleboom JM, Krupp J, Jacob, S, Vinzenz M, Schur F, Schlüter K, Gunning PW, Winkler C, Schmeiser C, Faix J, Stradal TEB, Small JV, Rottner K. (2013). Arp2/3 complex is essential for actin network treadmilling as well as for targeting of capping protein and cofilin. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 24, 2861-2875.
  • Vinzenz M, Nemethova M, Schur F, Mueller J, Narita A, Urban E, Winkler C, Schmeiser C, Koestler SA, Rottner K, Resch GP, Maeda Y, Small JV. (2012). Actin branching in the initiation and maintenance of lamellipodia. Journal of Cell Science. 125, 2775-85

          *equal contribution


Since 2017 Assistant Professor, IST Austria
2016-2017 Postdoc, European Molecular Biology Laboratory Heidelberg, Germany
2012-2016 PhD, European Molecular Biology Laboratory Heidelberg and University of Heidelberg, Germany
2010-2012 Diploma student/Research technician, Institute of Molecular Biology (IMBA), Vienna, Austria
2012 Magister “Molecular Biology”, Vienna University, Austria

Selected Distinctions

2016 Journal of Structural Biology, Paper of the year award 2016

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