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Daniel Daley


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Works at Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Telephone 08-16 29 10
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 16
Room A 415
Postal address Institutionen för biokemi och biofysik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Daniel Daley has a B.Sc. Hons and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Western Australia. He is currently an Assoc. Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Stockholm University. He is also the founder and CEO of CloneOpt AB. He has extensive expertise in molecular engineering, protein expression and purification, and proteomics. 





Research in the Daley laboratory aims to understand how proteins are folded and assembled in the cell envelope of gram-negative bacteria. The research provides molecular insight into fundamental biological processes and has immediate implications for antibiotic development.

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Group members

Patrick Shilling, Postdoc

Rageia Elfageih, PhD Student

Kiavash Mirzadeh, PhD Student

Claudio Muheim, PhD Student


Funding Sources

Vetenskapsrådet and Carl Trygger stiftelse



A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2016. Bill Söderström (et al.). Molecular Microbiology 101 (3), 425-438

    The divisome is the macromolecular complex that carries out cell division in Escherichia coli. Every generation it must be assembled, and then disassembled so that the sequestered proteins can be recycled. Whilst the assembly process has been well studied, virtually nothing is known about the disassembly process. In this study, we have used super-resolution SIM imaging to monitor pairs of fluorescently tagged divisome proteins as they depart from the division septum. These simple binary comparisons indicated that disassembly occurs in a coordinated process that consists of at least five steps: [FtsZ, ZapA] double right arrow [ZipA, FtsA] double right arrow [FtsL, FtsQ] double right arrow [FtsI, FtsN] double right arrow [FtsN]. This sequence of events is remarkably similar to the assembly process, indicating that disassembly follows a first-in, first-out principle. A secondary observation from these binary comparisons was that FtsZ and FtsN formed division rings that were spatially separated throughout the division process. Thus the data indicate that the divisome structure can be visualized as two concentric rings; a proto-ring containing FtsZ and an FtsN-ring.

  • 2015. Hansjörg Götzke (et al.). Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 14 (1), 216-226

    How proteins are trafficked, folded, and assembled into functional units in the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria is of significant interest. A number of chaperones have been identified, however, the molecular roles of these chaperones are often enigmatic because it has been challenging to assign substrates. Recently we discovered a novel periplasmic chaperone, called YfgM, which associates with PpiD and the SecYEG translocon and operates in a network that contains Skp and SurA. The aim of the study presented here was to identify putative substrates of YfgM. We reasoned that substrates would be incorrectly folded or trafficked when YfgM was absent from the cell, and thus more prone to proteolysis (the loss-of-function rationale). We therefore used a comparative proteomic approach to identify cell envelope proteins that were lower in abundance in a strain lacking yfgM, and strains lacking yfgM together with either skp or surA. Sixteen putative substrates were identified. The list contained nine inner membrane proteins (CusS, EvgS, MalF, OsmC, TdcB, TdcC, WrbA, YfhB, and YtfH) and seven periplasmic proteins (HdeA, HdeB, AnsB, Ggt, MalE, YcgK, and YnjE), but it did not include any lipoproteins or outer membrane proteins. Significantly, AnsB (an asparaginase) and HdeB (a protein involved in the acid stress response), were lower in abundance in all three strains lacking yfgM. For both genes, we ruled out the possibility that they were transcriptionally down-regulated, so it is highly likely that the corresponding proteins are misfolded/mistargeted and turned-over in the absence of YfgM. For HdeB we validated this conclusion in a pulse-chase experiment. The identification of HdeB and other cell envelope proteins as potential substrates will be a valuable resource for follow-up experiments that aim to delineate molecular the function of YfgM.

  • 2015. Kiavash Mirzadeh (et al.). ACS Synthetic Biology 4 (9), 959-965

    Protein production in Escherichia coli is a fundamental activity for a large fraction of academic, pharmaceutical, and industrial research laboratories. Maximum production is usually sought, as this reduces costs and facilitates downstream purification steps. Frustratingly, many coding sequences are poorly expressed even when they are codon-optimized and expressed from vectors with powerful genetic elements. In this study, we show that poor expression can be caused by certain nucleotide sequences (e.g., cloning scars) at the junction between the vector and the coding sequence. Since these sequences lie between the Shine-Dalgarno sequence and the start codon, they are an integral part of the translation initiation region. To identify the most optimal sequences, we devised a simple and inexpensive PCR-based step that generates sequence variants at the vector-coding sequence junction. These sequence variants modulated expression by up to WOO-fold. FACS-seq analyses indicated that low GC content and relaxed mRNA stability (AG) in this region were important, but not the only, determinants for high expression.

  • 2014. Bill Söderström (et al.). Molecular Microbiology 92 (1), 1-9

    In most bacteria cell division is mediated by a protein super-complex called the divisome that co-ordinates the constriction and scission of the cell envelope. FtsZ is the first of the divisome proteins to accumulate at the division site and is widely thought to function as a force generator that constricts the cell envelope. In this study we have used a combination of confocal fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to determine if divisome proteins are present at the septum at the time of cytoplasmic compartmentalization in Escherichia coli. Our data suggest that many are, but that FtsZ and ZapA disassemble before the cytoplasm is sealed by constriction of the inner membrane. This observation implies that FtsZ cannot be a force generator during the final stage(s) of envelope constriction in E. coli.

  • 2014. Hansjörg Götzke (et al.). Journal of Biological Chemistry 289 (27), 19089-19097

    Protein secretion in Gram-negative bacteria is essential for both cell viability and pathogenesis. The vast majority of secreted proteins exit the cytoplasm through a transmembrane conduit called the Sec translocon in a process that is facilitated by ancillary modules, such as SecA, SecDF-YajC, YidC, and PpiD. In this study we have characterized YfgM, a protein with no annotated function. We found it to be a novel ancillary subunit of the Sec translocon as it co-purifies with both PpiD and the SecYEG translocon after immunoprecipitation and blue native/SDS-PAGE. Phenotypic analyses of strains lacking yfgM suggest that its physiological role in the cell overlaps with the periplasmic chaperones SurA and Skp. We, therefore, propose a role for YfgM in mediating the trafficking of proteins from the Sec translocon to the periplasmic chaperone network that contains SurA, Skp, DegP, PpiD, and FkpA.

  • 2013. Morten H. H. Norholm (et al.). FEBS Letters 587 (15), 2352-2358

    Membrane proteins are extremely challenging to produce in sufficient quantities for biochemical and structural analysis and there is a growing demand for solutions to this problem. In this study we attempted to improve expression of two difficult-to-express coding sequences (araH and narK) for membrane transporters. For both coding sequences, synonymous codon substitutions in the region adjacent to the AUG start led to significant improvements in expression, whereas multi-parameter sequence optimization of codons throughout the coding sequence failed. We conclude that coding sequences can be re-wired for high-level protein expression by selective engineering of the 5' coding sequence with synonymous codons, thus circumventing the need to consider whole sequence optimization. (C) 2013 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

  • 2012. Morten H H Nørholm (et al.). Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1818 (4: S1), 1091-1096

    With synthetic gene services, molecular cloning is as easy as ordering a pizza. However choosing the right RNA code for efficient protein production is less straightforward, more akin to deciding on the pizza toppings. The possibility to choose synonymous codons in the gene sequence has ignited a discussion that dates back 50years: Does synonymous codon use matter? Recent studies indicate that replacement of particular codons for synonymous codons can improve expression in homologous or heterologous hosts, however it is not always successful. Furthermore it is increasingly apparent that membrane protein biogenesis can be codon-sensitive. Single synonymous codon substitutions can influence mRNA stability, mRNA structure, translational initiation, translational elongation and even protein folding. Synonymous codon substitutions therefore need to be carefully evaluated when membrane proteins are engineered for higher production levels and further studies are needed to fully understand how to select the codons that are optimal for higher production. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Protein Folding in Membranes.

Show all publications by Daniel Daley at Stockholm University

Last updated: May 16, 2017

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