ETH Zurich

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Prof. Dr. Markus Aebi Microbial Glycobiology group is interested in various aspects of glycobiology in prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms. Microbial model systems are used to study mechanistic and functional aspects of glycans.

Having contributed to the dissection of the eukaryotic pathway of N-linked protein glycosylation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the laboratory continues to work on the molecular mechanism of N-linked protein glycosylation in bacterial (classical and non-classical) and eukaryotic cells as well as the processing of N-linked glycans in the ER and the Golgi.

All prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells are coated with glycans, many of them covalently linked to proteins or lipids. Glycans therefore play a crucial role in the interaction between cells and their environment. In our laboratory, we study the role of glycans and glycan-binding proteins (lectins) in the interaction of fungi with competitors, predators and parasites including microbes and animals.


The group has access to very diverse infrastructure required for experimental research at a cellular and molecular level. In particular, the ETH Zurich Light Microscopy Center provides up-to-date microscopy, the Functional Genomic Center Zurich harbours the necessary instrumentation for genomics, proteomics and glycomics and the direct access to the Swiss Light Source is essential for crystallographic studies in structural biology.



1) Lizak C, Gerber S, Numao S, Aebi M, Locher KP (2011) X-ray structure of a bacterial oligosaccharyltransferase. Nature. 474 : 350-5.
2) Gauss R, Kanehara K, Carvalho P, Ng DT, Aebi M (2011) A complex of Pdi1p and the mannosidase Htm1p initiates clearance of unfolded glycoproteins from the endoplasmic reticulum. Mol Cell. 42: 782-93.
3) Nasab FP, Schulz BL, Gamarro F, Parodi AJ, Aebi M (2008) All in one: Leishmania major STT3 proteins substitute for the whole oligosaccharyltransferase complex in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mol Biol Cell 19: 3758-3768.