Prof. Nathan Nelson
Ph.D.: Tel Aviv University 1970
Phone: Tel: 972 - 3 - 6406017
Fax: 972 -3 - 6406018
Room#: Sherman Building, Room 530
Katzir Workshop
Be a part of an exciting project of Professor Nathan Nelson! One M.Sc. or Ph.D. and two postoctoral positions are available.
More details on available positions
Member's portrait

Research Interests


Molecular biology of membrane proteins


Our lab concentrates on the study of membrane-proteins. We study the molecular mechanisms involved in transport and energy transduction. The five main subjects that we are currently engaged in are:

  1. Structure, function and molecular biology of photosystem I and other membrane complexes in higher plant chloroplasts. We solve the structure of plant PSI super-complex including its four light-harvesting complexes at 3.1 Å resolution. We intend to obtain atomic resolution of plant PSI.
  2. Structural determination of super-complexes in biological membranes. Crystal structure of PSI-ferredoxin, PSI-plastocyanin, PSI- cytochrome b6-f etc.
  3. Crystal structure of chloroplast photosystem II and ATP-synthase.
  4. Expression and structural determination of marine viruses-encoded membrane proteins.
  5. Harnessing Oxygenic Photosynthesis for Sustainable Energy Production.


Selected Publications
  1. Nelson, H. and Nelson, N. (1990) Disruption of genes encoding subunits of yeast vacuolar H+-ATPase causes conditional lethality. Proc. Natl. Acad.
    Sci. USA 87: 3503-3507. (pdf)
  2. Nelson, H., Mandiyan, S. and Nelson , N. (1990) Cloning of the human brain GABA transporter. FEBS Lett. 269: 181-184.
  3. Nelson, N. (1991) Structure and pharmacology of the proton-ATPases. TIPS 12: 71-75.
  4. Nelson, N. (1992) Evolution of organellar proton-ATPases. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1100: 109-124.
  5. Bü ttner, M., Xie, D.-L., Nelson, H., Pinther, W., Hauska, G. and Nelson, N. (1992) Photosynthetic reaction center genes in green sulfur bacteria and in Photosystem I are related. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89: 8135-8139. (pdf)
  6. Liu, Q.-R., Mandiyan, S., Nelson, H. and Nelson, N. (1992) A family of genes encoding neurotransmitter transporters. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (pdf)
    89: 6639-6643.
  7. Liu, Q.-R., López-Corcuera, B., Nelson, H., Mandiyan, S. and Nelson, N. (1992) Cloning and expression of a cDNA encoding the transporter of taurine and -alanine in mouse brain. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89: 12145-12149. (pdf)
  8. Liu, Q.-R., Ló pez-Corcuera, B., Mandiyan, S., Nelson, H. and Nelson, N. (1993) Molecular characterization of four pharmacologically distinct GABA transporters in mouse brain. J. Biol. Chem. 268: 2106-2112. (pdf)
  9. Liu, Q.-R., Ló pez-Corcuera, B., Mandiyan, S., Nelson, H. and Nelson, N. (1993) Cloning and expression of a spinal cord and brain-specific glycine transporter with novel structural features. J. Biol. Chem. 268: 22802-22808. (pdf)
  10. Supek, F., Supekova, L. and Nelson, N. (1994) Features of vacuolar H+-ATPase revealed by yeast suppressor mutants. J. Biol. Chem. 269: 26479-26485. (pdf)
  11. Jursky, F. and Nelson, N. (1995) Localization of glycine neurotransmitter transporter (GLYT2) reveals correlation with the distribution of glycine receptor. J. Neuro. Chem. 64: 1026-1033. (pdf)
  12. Nelson, H., Mandiyan, S. and Nelson, N. (1995) A bovine cDNA and a yeast gene-VMA8 encoding subunit D of the vacuolar H+-ATPase. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92: 497-501. (pdf)
  13. Tamura, S., Nelson, H., Tamura, A. and Nelson, N. (1995) Short external loops as potential substrate binding sites of GABA transporters. J. Biol. Chem. 270: 28712-28715. (pdf)
  14. Supek, F., Supekova, L., Nelson, H. and Nelson, N. (1996) A yeast manganese transporter related to the macrophage protein involved in conferring resistance to mycobacteria. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 5105-5110. (pdf)
  15. Supek, F., Supekova, L., Nelson, H. and Nelson, N. (1997) Function of metal-ion homeostasis in cell divison cycle, mitochondrial protein processing, sensitivity to mycobacterial infection and brain functions. J. Exp. Biol. 200: 321-330. (pdf)
  16. Orgad S., Nelson, H., Segal, D. and Nelson, N. (1998) Metal ions suppress the abnormal taste behavior of the Drosophila mutant malvolio. J. Exp. Biol. 201: 115-120. (pdf)
  17. Nelson, N. (1998) The family of Na+/Cl- neurotransmitter transporters. J. Neurochem. 71: 1785-1803. (pdf)
  18. Nelson, N. and Harvey, W.R. (1999) Vacuolar and plasma membrane V-ATPases. Phys. Rev. 79: 361-385. (pdf)
  19. Nelson, N. (1999). Metal-ion transporters and homeostasis. EMBO J. 18: 4361-4371. (pdf)
  20. Cohen, A., Perzov, N., Nelson, H. and Nelson, N. (1999). A novel family of yeast chaperons involved in the distribution of V-ATPase and other membrane proteins. J. Biol Chem. 274: 26885-26893. (pdf)
  21. Grossman, T.R., Luque, J.M. and Nelson, N. (2000). Identificatioin of a ubiquitous family of membrane proteins and their expression in mouse brain. J. Exp. Biol. 203: 447-457. (pdf)
  22. Cohen, A., Nelson, H. and Nelson, N. (2000). The family of SMF metal-ion transporters in yeast cells. J. Biol. Chem. 275: 33388-33394. (pdf)
  23. Perzov, N., Nelson, H. and Nelson, N. (2000). Altered distribution of the yeast plasma membrane H+-ATPase as a feature of vacuolar H+-ATPase null mutants. J. Biol. Chem. 275: 40088-40095. (pdf)
  24. Nelson, N. and Ben-Shem, A. (2002). Photosystem I reaction center: Past and future . Photosyth. Res. 73: 193-206 (pdf)
  25. Nelson, N., Sacher, A. and Nelson, H. (2002) The significance of molecular slips in transport systems. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 3: 876-881 (pdf)
  26. Cohen, A., Nevo, Y. and Nelson, N. (2003). The first external loop of the metal-ion transporter DCT1 is involved in metal-ion binding and specificity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100, 10694-10699 (pdf)
  27. Ben-Shem, A. Frolow, F. and Nelson, N. (2003). The crystal structure of plant photosystem I. Nature 426, 630-635 (pdf)
  28. Ben-Shem, A. Frolow, F. and Nelson, N. (2004). Evolution of Photosystem I – from Symmetry through Pseudosymmetry to Assymmetry. FEBS Lett. 564, 274-280 (pdf)
  29. Nelson, N. and Ben-Shem, A. (2004). The complex architecture of oxygenic photosynthesis. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 5, 971-982 (pdf)
  30. Drory, O., Frolow, F. and Nelson, N. (2004). Crystal structure of yeast V-ATPase subunit C reveals its stator function. EMBO Rep. 5, 1148-1152 (pdf)
  31. Nevo, Y. and Nelson, N. (2004). The Mutation F227I Increases the Coupling of Metal Ion Transport in DCT1. J. Biol. Chem. 279, 53056-53061 (pdf)
  32. Cohen-Kfir, E., Lee, W., Eskandari, S. and Nelson, N. (2005). Zinc Inhibition of the -Aminobutyric Acid Transporter-4 (GAT4) Reveals a Novel Link between Excitatory and Inhibitory Neurotransmission. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102, 6154-6159 (pdf)
  33. Junge, W. and Nelson, N. (2005). Nature's rotary electromotors. Science 308, 642-644 (pdf)
  34. Nelson, N. and Ben-Shem, A. (2005). The structure of photosystem I and evolution of photosynthesis. BioEssays 27, 914-922. (pdf)
  35. Nelson, N. and Yocum, C. (2006). Structure and Function of Photosystems I and II. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 57, 521-565. (pdf)
  36. Amunts, A., Drory, O. and Nelson, N. (2007). The structure of a plant photosystem I supercomplex at 3.4 Å resolution. Nature 447, 58-63. (pdf)
  37. Tuller, T., Chor, B. and Nelson, N. (2007). Forbidden penta-peptides. Protein Science 16, 2251-2259.
  38. Saroussi, S. and Nelson, N. (2009). Vacuolar H +-ATPase—an enzyme for all seasons. Pflugers Arch. – Eur. J. Physiol. 457, 581-587.
  39. Saroussi, S. and Nelson, N. (2009). The little we know on the structure and machinery of V-ATPase. J. Exp. Biol. 212, 1604-1610.
  40. Nelson, N. (2009). Plant Photosystem I – The Most Efficient Nano-Photochemical Machine. J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol. 9, 1709–1713.
  41. Amunts, A. and Nelson, N. (2009). Plant photosystem I design in light of evolution. Structure 17, 637-650.
  42. Sharon, I., Alperovitch, A., Rohwer, F., Haynes, M. Glaser, F. Atamaa-Ismaeel, N., Pinter, R.Y., Partensky, F., Koonin, E.V., Wolf, Y.I., Nelson, N. and Oded Béjà, O. (2009). Photosystem I gene cassettes are present in marine virus genomes. Nature 461, 258-262.
  43. Amunts, A., Toporik, H., Borovikova, A. and Nelson, N. (2010). Structure determination and improved model of plant photosystem I. J Biol Chem. 285, 3478-3486.
  44. Leviatan, S., Sawada, K., Moriyama, Y. and Nelson, N. (2010). A combinatorial method for overexpression of membrane proteins in E. coli. J Biol Chem. 285, 23548-23556.
  45. Alperovitch-Lavy A, Sharon I, Rohwer F, Aro EM, Glaser F, Milo R, Nelson N, Béjà O. (2011). Reconstructing a puzzle: existence of cyanophages containing both photosystem-I and photosystem-II gene suites inferred from oceanic metagenomic datasets. Environ Microbiol. 13, 24–32.
  46. Nelson, N. (2011). Photosystems and global effects of oxygenic photosynthesis. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1807, 856-863.
  47. Mazor, Y., Toporik, H. and Nelson, N. (2012). Temperature-sensitive PSII and promiscuous PSI as a possible solution for sustainable photosynthetic hydrogen production. Biochim. Biophys. Acta In press
  48. Toporik, H., Carmeli, I., Volotsenko, I., Molotskii, M., Rosenwaks, Y., Carmeli C. and Nelson, N. (2012). Large Photovoltage Generated by Plant Photosystem I Crystals. Advanced Materials. 24, 2988-2991.

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