Rouslan Efremov Lab

Research focus

Many important biological processes are regulated by large protein complexes. These complexes are typically dynamic: they often change their structure and even composition as they fulfill their biological role.  We are interested in understanding the mechanistic aspects of their functioning.  Therefore we use single particle transmission electron cryogenic microscopy (cryo-EM) to study structure and dynamics of the protein complexes.
Our current focus is on a membrane protein ryanodine receptor, the largest known ion channel.  Ryanodine receptors play important role in many tissues in particular in contraction of skeletal and cardiac muscles. These ion channels are of significant medical importance as they represent important drug targets against cardiac and muscular diseases. We aim at determining the high-resolution structures of ryanodine receptors in multiple functional states. This will allow us to understand how numerous factors alter the protein conformation and regulate the ion transport.

In addition to studying the structure of the protein complexes we are interested in development of the method of single particle cryo-EM. Single particle cryo-EM has an immense not realized potential for determining high-resolution structures of challenging macromolecular complexes from a very small amount of material. Here our goal is to improve existing sample preparation and image processing approaches.




Influence of Lipid Mimetics on Gating of Ryanodine ReceptorWillegems Katrien Efremov RouslanSTRUCTURE, 26, 1303-1313 e4, 2018
Molecular mechanism governing ratio-dependent transcription regulation in the ccdAB operonVandervelde A* Drobnak I* Hadzi S Sterckx Y Welte T De Greve H Charlier D Efremov R* Loris R* Lah J*NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH, 45, 2937-2950, 2017* or °: authors contributed equally
Lipid Nanodiscs as a Tool for High-Resolution Structure Determination of Membrane Proteins by Single-Particle Cryo-EMEfremov R* Gatsogiannis C* Raunser S*Methods in Enzymology, 594, 1-30, 2017* or °: authors contributed equally
An intrinsically disordered entropic switch determines allostery in Phd-Doc regulationGarcia Pino Abel De Gieter Steven Talavera Perez Ariel De Greve Henri Efremov Rouslan Loris RemyNature Chemical Biology, 12, 490-6, 2016
Architecture and conformational switch mechanism of the ryanodine receptorEfremov Rouslan Leitner A. Aebersold R. Raunser SNATURE, 517, 39-43, 2015

Job openings


Research center for high-resolution electron cryogenic microscopy to open

21/09/2018 - The Center for Structural Biology (VIB-VUB), headed by Professors Jan Steyaert and Han Remaut officially opened the ‘international facility for Bio Electron Cryogenic Microscopy’ (BECM) at the VUB Campus in Brussels.

Nobel prize 2017 for cryo-electron microscopy

05/10/2017 - ​The Nobel prize for Chemistry 2017 went to 3 investigators (Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson) whose scientific contributions have led to our current ability to determine the 3D-structure of biomolecules by cryo-electron microscopy.

3 accomplished VIB Scientists receive ERC Consolidator grants

14/03/2017 - In November of 2016, three of our very own top researchers, Stein Aerts, Martin Guilliams and Rouslan Efremov were awarded Consolidator Grants, bringing the total number of such ERC grants won by VIB scientists up to 43.

ERC Consolidator Grants for three VIB scientists

30/11/2016 - The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 3 VIB scientists a consolidator grant: Stein Aerts (VIB-KU Leuven), Martin Guilliams (VIB-UGent) and Rouslan Efremov (VIB-VUB).

A step forward in understanding muscle diseases

04/05/2015 - Rouslan Efremov, together with his former colleagues from Max Planck, unraveled the structure and mechanism of the ryanodine receptor.

Rouslan Efremov

Rouslan Efremov

Research area(s)


​PhD: Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia, ,05
Postdoc: MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, Cambridge, UK, ,06-,10
Postdoc: Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany, ,11-,12
VIB group leader at VIB since April 2013

Contact Info

VIB-VUB Center for Structural BiologyBuilding EPleinlaan 2 1050 BRUSSELRoute description