Prof. Nathan Nelson

ביוכימיה וביולוגיה מולקו אמריטוס
Prof. Nathan Nelson
Phone: 03-6406017
Fax: 03-6406018
Office: Sherman - Life Sciences, 530

Research Interests

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:

  • 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 2.8 Å resolution. We intend to obtain atomic resolution of plant PSI.
  • Structural determination of super-complexes in biological membranes. Crystal structure of PSI-ferredoxin, PSI-plastocyanin, PSI- cytochrome b6-f etc.
  • Crystal structure of chloroplast photosystem II and ATP-synthase.
  • Expression and structural determination of marine viruses-encoded membrane proteins.
  • Harnessing Oxygenic Photosynthesis for Sustainable Energy Production.


Recent Publications

Since 2009

Cohen-Kfir, E., Lee, W., Eskandari, S. and Nelson, N. (2005). Zinc Inhibition of the g-Aminobutyric Acid Transporter-4 (GAT4) Reveals a Novel Link between Excitatory and Inhibitory Neurotransmission. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102, 6154-6159 


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. 


Saroussi, S. and Nelson, N. (2009). Vacuolar H +-ATPase—an enzyme for all seasons. Pflugers Arch. – Eur. J. Physiol. 457, 581-587.


Nelson, N. (2009). Plant Photosystem I – The Most Efficient Nano-Photochemical Machine. J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol. 9, 1709–1713.


Amunts, A. and Nelson, N. (2009). Plant photosystem I design in light of evolution. Structure 17, 637-650.


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.


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.


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.


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 1817, 1122-1126.


Nelson, N. (2011). Photosystems and global effects of oxygenic photosynthesis. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1807, 856-863.


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.


Saroussi, S., Schushan, M., Ben-Tal, N., Junge, W. and Nelson, N. (2012). Structure and flexibility of the c-ring in the electromotor of rotary FoF1-ATPase of pea chloroplasts. PLoS ONE 7(9): e43045. doi:10.1371


Mazor, Y., Greenberg, I., Toporik, H., Beja, O. and Nelson, N. (2012). The evolution of photosystem I in light of phage-encoded reaction centers. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 367, 3400-3405.


Nelson, N. (2013). Evolution of photosystem I and the control of global enthalpy in an oxidizing world. Photosynth Res. 116, 145-151.


Mazor, Y., Nataf, D., Toporik H. and Nelson N. (2014). Crystal structures of virus-like photosystem I complexes from the mesophilic cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803. eLife 2014;3:e01496. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.01496.


Volotsenko, I., Molotskii, M., Borovikova, A., Nelson, N. and Rosenwaks, Y. (2015). Evidence for Deep Acceptor Centers in Plant Photosystem I Crystals. J. Physical Chem. 119, 1374−1379.


Nelson, N. and Junge, W. (2015). Structure and Energy Transfer in Photosystems of Oxygenic Photosynthesis. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 84, 659-683.


Junge, W. and Nelson, N. (2015). ATP Synthase. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 84, 631-657.



Juge N, Moriyama S, Miyaji T, Kawakami M, Iwai H, Fukui T, Nelson N, Omote H, Moriyama Y. (2015). Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter is a H+-coupled polyspecific nutrient and drug exporter. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 112, 3356-3361.


Mazor, Y., Borovikova, A. and Nelson N. (2015). The structure of plant photosystem I super-complex at 2.8 °A resolution.  eLife 2015;4:e07433. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.07433.



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