Jani Bolla

Jani Bolla

Stipendiary Lecturer in Biochemistry
MSc, PhD

I joined New College in 2022 as a Stipendiary Lecturer in Biochemistry. I studied Chemical Sciences at Pondicherry University, India and moved to Iowa State University for doctoral studies. I came to Oxford in 2015 and worked in Professor Dame Carol Robinson's group in the Chemistry department as a postdoctoral research associate. I was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2021 to set up my research group in the newly formed Biology department. 


I tutor undergraduate students at New College on various topics in Biochemistry and supervise Biochemistry Part II students, Biology Masters students and DPhil candidates in the Biology Department. 

Research Interests

Research in my laboratory aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of large protein machineries involved in transport across biological membranes. The lab's main focus is to understand the mechanism of protein import into chloroplasts. These unique organelles generate most of the food and oxygen that is required for all life on Earth through a process called photosynthesis. For chloroplasts to function properly, they need to import >2000 different nuclear-encoded preproteins across the double-membrane envelope. This transport is mediated by the coordinated action of the sophisticated translocation systems at the chloroplasts' outer and inner membranes (TOC and TIC, respectively). To understand the mechanisms of protein transport by the TOC-TIC system at a molecular level, our lab uses an integrative structural biology approach that combines native mass spectrometry, cryo-EM, X-ray crystallography and mass photometry. A complete understanding of how these complexes assemble and function will then provide us with new means to enhance/manipulate the productivity of crop plants to tackle the growing population needs and climate change. 

We are also particularly interested in understanding the multiprotein-complex machineries involved in Gram-negative bacterial cell envelope biogenesis, with particular emphasis on how the cell envelope contents from pathogenic bacteria affect human and plant health. 

Selected Publications

Oluwole A, Corey R, Brown C, Hernandez-Rocamora V, Stansfeld P, Vollmer W, Bolla JR, Robinson CV (2022). Peptidoglycan biosynthesis is driven by lipid transfer along enzyme-substrate affinity gradients. Nature Communications 13, 2278.

Kaur H, Jakob RP, Marzinek JK, Green R, Imai Y, Bolla JR, Agustoni E, Robinson CV, Bond PJ, Lewis K, Maier T, Hiller S (2021). The antibiotic darobactin mimics a β-strand to inhibit outer membrane insertase. Nature 593, 125-129.

Fiorentino F, Rotili D, Mai A, Bolla JR, Robinson CV (2021). Mass spectrometry enables the discovery of inhibitors of an LPS transport assembly via disruption of protein-protein interactions. Chemical Communications 57, 10747-10750.

Fiorentino F, Sauer JB, Qiu X, Corey RA, Cassidy CK, Mynors-Wallis B, Mehmood S, Bolla JR, Stansfeld PJ, Robinson CV (2021). Dynamics of an LPS translocon induced by substrate and an antimicrobial peptide. Nature Chemical Biology 17, 187-195.

Bolla JR, Howes AC, Fiorentino F, Robinson CV (2020). Assembly and regulation of the chlorhexidine-specific efflux pump AceI. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 117, 17011-17018.

Bolla JR, Agasid MT, Mehmood S, Robinson CV (2019). Membrane protein-lipid interactions probed using mass spectrometry. Annual Review of Biochemistry 88, 85-111

Bolla JR, Sauer JB, Wu D, Mehmood S, Allison TM, Robinson CV (2018). Direct observation of the influence of cardiolipin and antibiotics on lipid II binding to MurJ. Nature Chemistry 10, 363-371.

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