Robert (Bob) Charles Robinson

Topic Expertise:

  • Structure Biology
  • Evolution of Complex Organisms


School of Biomolecular Science & Engineering (BSE), 

Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC), Wangchan Valley, Rayong, THAILAND

Tel: (+66)33 014 020 | Email:


Bob obtained a BSc (1987) in Chemistry from King's College, London University, an MSc (1990) in Biochemistry from University of British Columbia, and a DPhil (1996) in Structural Biology from Oxford University.  During his postdoctoral studies at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1996-2001), Bob solved the X-ray structure of Arp2/3, an actin-nucleating complex consisting of seven proteins. In 2001, Bob was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at Uppsala University. There, the research group continued to elucidate structures of key actin-regulating proteins. Bob became an EMBO Young Investigator in 2003. Bob joined the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), Singapore as a Principal Investigator in 2005 and became a Research Director in 2011. Bob joined the Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Science (RIIS), Okayama University, Japan in 2018 as a professor.



Asgard archaea are named after the gods of Norse mythology, including Heimdall, Loki, Odin and Thor. Metagenomics sequencing has revealed that Asgard archaea contain potential homologs to eukaryotic genes. Several of these gene products are involved in forming the cytoskeleton and modifying membranes, hallmarks of eukaryotic cells. Thus, the hypothesis that the source eukaryotic cell arose from the Archaea domain now has potential model organisms to study that may have the pre-eukaryotic properties. However, most Asgard archaea have yet to be imaged or cultivated, bringing in to question whether these archaea exhibit eukaryotic characteristics. Recently, we published the first evidence that the Asgard versions of the actin regulators profilin and gelsolin are functional at the protein level. In eukaryotes, force from directed actin polymerization drives membrane remodelling through filament nucleation and elongation machineries such as formins, which recruit the profilin/actin complex to initiate polymerization. Many of these interactions are regulated by the phospholipid PIP2. We demonstrated that Asgard profilins and gelsolins are true eukaryotic-like proteins being functional in regulating mammalian actin in vitro. We determined their crystal structures in complex with mammalian actin, which verified the conserved actin interactions. Asgard gelsolins and profilins appear to be primitive actin regulators since they do not have all of the eukaryotic properties, for instance, Asgard profilins do not interact with formin polyproline sequences but do interact with phospholipids, features of eukaryotic profilins. Hence, we are generating the first experimental data at the protein level that suggests that eukaryotes may have evolved from the Archaea domain. 


Journal, Article

Structural displacement model of chitooligosaccharide transport through chitoporin

Sanram S.

Journal of Biological Chemistry ,2023, 2998 105000

Journal, Article

Structural and binding studies of a new chitin-active AA10 lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase from the marine bacterium Vibrio campbellii

Zhou Y.

Acta crystallographica. Section D, Structural biology ,2023, 79 

Journal, Review

AlphaFold2: A versatile tool to predict the appearance of functional adaptations in evolution: Profilin interactions in uncultured Asgard archaea

Ponlachantra K.

BioEssays ,2023, 452 2200119

Journal, Article

Structural and biochemical evidence for the emergence of a calcium-regulated actin cytoskeleton prior to eukaryogenesis

Akıl C.

Communications Biology ,2022, 51 890

Journal, Article

Structure and dynamics of Odinarchaeota tubulin and the implications for eukaryotic microtubule evolution

Akıl C.

Science Advances ,2022, 812 eabm2225

Journal, Article

Specialization of actin isoforms derived from the loss of key interactions with regulatory factors

Boiero Sanders M.

EMBO Journal ,2022, 415 e107982

Journal, Article

Extracellular domains of E-cadherin determine key mechanical phenotypes of an epithelium through cell- And non-cellautonomous outside-in signaling

Aladin D.M.K.

PLoS ONE ,2021, 1612 December e0260593

Journal, Article

Correlative cryo-imaging of the cellular universe with soft X-rays and laser light used to track F-actin structures in mammalian cells

Koronfel M.

Acta Crystallographica Section D: Structural Biology ,2021, 77 

Journal, Article

Functional display of bioactive peptides on the vGFP scaffold

Chee S.M.Q.

Scientific Reports ,2021, 111 10127

Journal, Article

Structure of a Minimal α-Carboxysome-Derived Shell and Its Utility in Enzyme Stabilization

Tan Y.Q.

Biomacromolecules ,2021, 2210 

Journal, Article

A structural model for (GlcNAc)2 translocation via a periplasmic chitooligosaccharide-binding protein from marine Vibrio bacteria

Kitaoku Y.

Journal of Biological Chemistry ,2021, 2973 101071

Journal, Article

Tmod3 Phosphorylation Mediates AMPK-Dependent GLUT4 Plasma Membrane Insertion in Myoblasts

Shrestha M.M.

Frontiers in Endocrinology ,2021, 12 653557

Journal, Review

Mythical origins of the actin cytoskeleton

Akıl C.

Current Opinion in Cell Biology ,2021, 68 

Journal, Article

The structure of the actin filament uncapping complex mediated by twinfilin

Mwangangi D.M.

Science Advances ,2021, 75 eabd5271

Journal, Erratum

Author Correction: Intracellular ion concentrations and cation-dependent remodelling of bacterial MreB assemblies (Scientific Reports, (2020), 10, 1, (12002), 10.1038/s41598-020-68960-w)

Szatmári D.

Scientific Reports ,2020, 101 18185

Journal, Article

Intracellular ion concentrations and cation-dependent remodelling of bacterial MreB assemblies

Szatmári D.

Scientific Reports ,2020, 101 12002

Journal, Article

Chitoporin from Serratia marcescens: Recombinant expression, purification and crystallization

Amornloetwattana R.

Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology Communications ,2020, 76 

Journal, Article

Insights into the evolution of regulated actin dynamics via characterization of primitive gelsolin/cofilin proteins from Asgard archaea

Akıl C.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ,2020, 11733 

Journal, Article

Directed Computational Evolution of Quorum-Quenching Lactonases from the Amidohydrolase Superfamily

Go M.K.

Structure ,2020, 286 

Journal, Article

In vivo crystals reveal critical features of the interaction between cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and the PDZ2 domain of Na+/H+ exchange cofactor NHERF1

Martin E.R.

Journal of Biological Chemistry ,2020, 29514 

Journal, Review

Tree of motility – A proposed history of motility systems in the tree of life

Miyata M.

Genes to Cells ,2020, 251 

Journal, Erratum

Author Correction: Coherent diffractive imaging of microtubules using an X-ray laser (Nature Communications, (2019), 10, 1, (2589), 10.1038/s41467-019-10448-x)

Brändén G.

Nature Communications ,2019, 101 4101

Journal, Article

The structure of a 15-stranded actin-like filament from Clostridium botulinum

Koh F.

Nature Communications ,2019, 101 2856

Journal, Article

Coherent diffractive imaging of microtubules using an X-ray laser

Brändén G.

Nature Communications ,2019, 101 2589

Journal, Article

Glutathione transferase Omega 1-1 (GSTO1-1) modulates Akt and MEK1/2 signaling in human neuroblastoma cell SH-SY5Y

Saisawang C.

Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics ,2019, 877 

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