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Daniel Daley

Professor i Biokemi

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Arbetar vid Institutionen för biokemi och biofysik
Telefon 08-16 29 10
Besöksadress Svante Arrhenius väg 16
Rum A 415
Postadress Institutionen för biokemi och biofysik 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

Daniel Daley has a B.Sc. Hons and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Western Australia. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Stockholm University. He is also the founder 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.

Find out more at



Group members

Alister James Cumming, PhD student

Diana Khananisho, PhD student


Funding Sources

Vetenskapsrådet and Carl Trygger stiftelse



I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 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.

  • Claudio Muheim (et al.).

    The outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria is a permeability barrier that prevents the efficient uptake of molecules with large scaffolds. As a consequence, a number of antibiotic classes are ineffective against gram-negative strains. Herein we carried out a high throughput screen for small molecules that make the outer membrane of Escherichia coli more permeable. We identified MAC13243, an inhibitor of the periplasmic chaperone LolA that traffics lipoproteins from the inner to the outer membrane. We observed that cells were (1) more permeable to the fluorescent probe 1-N-phenylnapthylamine, and (2) more susceptible to large-scaffold antibiotics when sub-inhibitory concentrations of MAC13243 were used. To exclude the possibility that the permeability was caused by an off-target effect, we genetically reconstructed the MAC13243-phenotype by depleting LolA levels using the CRISPRi system.

  • Kiavash Mirzadeh (et al.).

    Here we show that the junction formed when a coding sequence is cloned into an expression vector can affect protein production levels by up to a 1000-fold. Optimised junctions can be identified after a post-cloning optimisation step, which generates a library of sequence variants that differ only in ribosome-binding sites. The approach is simple, inexpensive and applicable to any experiment where efficient expression of a cloned coding sequence is sought.

  • 2019. Bill Söderström, Helena Chan, Daniel O. Daley. Current Genetics 65 (1), 99-101

    Bacterial cells need to divide. This process requires more than 30 different proteins, which gather at the division site. It is widely assumed that these proteins assemble into a macromolecular complex (the divisome), but capturing the molecular layout of this complex has proven elusive. Super-resolution microscopy can provide spatial information, down to a few tens of nanometers, about how the division proteins assemble into complexes and how their activities are co-ordinated. Herein we provide insight into recent work from our laboratories, where we used super-resolution gSTED nanoscopy to explore the molecular organization of FtsZ, FtsI and FtsN. The resulting images show that all three proteins form discrete densities organised in patchy pseudo-rings at the division site. Significantly, two-colour imaging highlighted a radial separation between FtsZ and FtsN, indicating that there is more than one type of macromolecular complex operating during division. These data provide a first glimpse into the spatial organisation of PG-synthesising enzymes during division in Gram-negative bacteria.

  • 2018. Roberto Ferro (et al.). Microbial Cell Factories 17

    Background: The market for recombinant proteins is on the rise, and Gram-positive strains are widely exploited for this purpose. Bacillus subtilis is a profitable host for protein production thanks to its ability to secrete large amounts of proteins, and Lactococcus lactis is an attractive production organism with a long history in food fermentation. Results: We have developed a synbio approach for increasing gene expression in two Gram-positive bacteria. First of all, the gene of interest was coupled to an antibiotic resistance gene to create a growth-based selection system. We then randomised the translation initiation region (TIR) preceding the gene of interest and selected clones that produced high protein titres, as judged by their ability to survive on high concentrations of antibiotic. Using this approach, we were able to significantly increase production of two industrially relevant proteins; sialidase in B. subtilis and tyrosine ammonia lyase in L. lactis. Conclusion: Gram-positive bacteria are widely used to produce industrial enzymes. High titres are necessary to make the production economically feasible. The synbio approach presented here is a simple and inexpensive way to increase protein titres, which can be carried out in any laboratory within a few days. It could also be implemented as a tool for applications beyond TIR libraries, such as screening of synthetic, homologous or domain-shuffled genes.

  • 2018. Bill Söderström (et al.). Molecular Microbiology 107 (3), 387-401

    The division of Escherichia coli is mediated by a collection of some 34 different proteins that are recruited to the division septum and are thought to assemble into a macromolecular complex known as the divisome'. Herein, we have endeavored to better understand the structure of the divisome by imaging two of its core components; FtsZ and FtsN. Super resolution microscopy (SIM and gSTED) indicated that both proteins are localized in large assemblies, which are distributed around the division septum (i.e., forming a discontinuous ring). Although the rings had similar radii prior to constriction, the individual densities were often spatially separated circumferentially. As the cell envelope constricted, the discontinuous ring formed by FtsZ moved inside the discontinuous ring formed by FtsN. The radial and circumferential separation observed in our images indicates that the majority of FtsZ and FtsN molecules are organized in different macromolecular assemblies, rather than in a large super-complex. This conclusion was supported by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching measurements, which indicated that the dynamic behavior of the two macromolecular assemblies was also fundamentally different. Taken together, the data indicates that constriction of the cell envelope is brought about by (at least) two spatially separated complexes.

  • Artikel TARSyn
    2018. Maja Rennig (et al.). ACS Photonics 7 (2), 432-442

    Evolution can be harnessed to optimize synthetic biology designs. A prominent example is recombinant protein production-a dominating theme in biotechnology for more than three decades. Typically, a protein coding sequence (cds) is recombined with genetic elements, such as promoters, ribosome binding sites and terminators, which control expression in a cell factory. A major bottleneck during production is translational initiation. Previously we identified more effective translation initiation regions (TIRs) by creating sequence libraries and then selecting for a TIR that drives high-level expression-an example of synthetic evolution. However, manual screening limits the ability to assay expression levels of all putative sequences in the libraries. Here we have solved this bottleneck by designing a collection of translational coupling devices based on a RNA secondary structure. Exchange of different sequence elements in this device allows for different coupling efficiencies, therefore giving the devices a tunable nature. Sandwiching these devices between the cds and an antibiotic selection marker that functions over a broad dynamic range of antibiotic concentrations adds to the tunability and allows expression levels in large clone libraries to be probed using a simple cell survival assay on the respective antibiotic. The power of the approach is demonstrated by substantially increasing production of two commercially interesting proteins, a Nanobody and an Affibody. The method is a simple and inexpensive alternative to advanced screening techniques that can be carried out in any laboratory.

  • 2017. Claudio Muheim (et al.). Scientific Reports 7

    The outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria is a permeability barrier that prevents the efficient uptake of molecules with large scaffolds. As a consequence, a number of antibiotic classes are ineffective against gram-negative strains. Herein we carried out a high throughput screen for small molecules that make the outer membrane of Escherichia coli more permeable. We identified MAC13243, an inhibitor of the periplasmic chaperone LolA that traffics lipoproteins from the inner to the outer membrane. We observed that cells were (1) more permeable to the fluorescent probe 1-N-phenylnapthylamine, and (2) more susceptible to large-scaffold antibiotics when sub-inhibitory concentrations of MAC13243 were used. To exclude the possibility that the permeability was caused by an off-target effect, we genetically reconstructed the MAC13243-phenotype by depleting LolA levels using the CRISPRi system.

  • 2017. Bill Soederstroem, Daniel O. Daley. Current Genetics 63 (2), 161-164

    Bacterial cells are critically dependent on their ability to divide. The process of division is carried out by a large and highly dynamic molecular machine, known as the divisome. An understanding of the divisomes' architecture is highly sought after, as it is essential for understanding molecular mechanisms and potentially designing antibiotic molecules that curb bacterial growth. Our current view, which is mainly based on high-resolution imaging of Escherichia coli, is that it is a patchy ring or toroid structure. However, recent super-resolution imaging has shown that the toroid structure contains at least three concentric rings, each containing a different set of proteins. Thus, the emerging picture is that the divisome has different functional modules that are spatially separated in concentric rings.

  • 2016. Kiavash Mirzadeh (et al.). Heterologous Expression of Membrane Proteins, 53-61

    Reengineering a gene with synonymous codons is a popular approach for increasing production levels of recombinant proteins. Here we present a minimalist alternative to this method, which samples synonymous codons only at the second and third positions rather than the entire coding sequence. As demonstrated with two membrane-embedded transporters in Escherichia coli, the method was more effective than optimizing the entire coding sequence. The method we present is PCR based and requires three simple steps: (1) the design of two PCR primers, one of which is degenerate; (2) the amplification of a mini-library by PCR; and (3) screening for high-expressing clones.

Visa alla publikationer av Daniel Daley vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 28 augusti 2020

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