Thomas U. Schwartz

Thomas U. Schwartz

Boris Magasanik Professor of Biology

Thomas U. Schwartz investigates communication across biological membranes, using structural, biochemical, and genetic tools.






Sarah Wylie



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 2000, Free University of Berlin
  • MS, 1996, Biochemistry, Free University of Berlin
  • BS, 1993, Biochemistry, Free University of Berlin

Research Summary

Our primary goal is to understand how signals and molecules are transmitted between the nucleus and cytoplasm across the nuclear envelope. We work to decipher the mechanism and structure of the machinery that executes these cellular processes.

Key Publications

  1. Structures of TorsinA and its disease-mutant complexed with an activator reveal the molecular basis for primary dystonia. Demircioglu, FE, Sosa, BA, Ingram, J, Ploegh, HL, Schwartz, TU. 2016. Elife 5, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.17983PMID:27490483
  2. The Nuclear Pore Complex as a Flexible and Dynamic Gate. Knockenhauer, KE, Schwartz, TU. 2016. Cell 164, 1162-1171.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.01.034PMID:26967283
  3. Atomic structure of the Y complex of the nuclear pore. Kelley, K, Knockenhauer, KE, Kabachinski, G, Schwartz, TU. 2015. Nat Struct Mol Biol 22, 425-431.
    doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2998PMID:25822992
  4. LINC complexes form by binding of three KASH peptides to domain interfaces of trimeric SUN proteins. Sosa, BA, Rothballer, A, Kutay, U, Schwartz, TU. 2012. Cell 149, 1035-47.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.03.046PMID:22632968
  5. Structural evidence for common ancestry of the nuclear pore complex and vesicle coats. Brohawn, SG, Leksa, NC, Spear, ED, Rajashankar, KR, Schwartz, TU. 2008. Science 322, 1369-73.
    doi: 10.1126/science.1165886PMID:18974315

Recent Publications

  1. Structural analysis of different LINC complexes reveals distinct binding modes. Cruz, VE, Esra Demircioglu, F, Schwartz, TU. 2020. J Mol Biol , .
    doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2020.09.019PMID:33058875
  2. Exploring cellular biochemistry with nanobodies. Cheloha, RW, Harmand, TJ, Wijne, C, Schwartz, TU, Ploegh, HL. 2020. J Biol Chem , .
    doi: 10.1074/jbc.REV120.012960PMID:32868455
  3. Quantifying the heterogeneity of macromolecular machines by mass photometry. Sonn-Segev, A, Belacic, K, Bodrug, T, Young, G, VanderLinden, RT, Schulman, BA, Schimpf, J, Friedrich, T, Dip, PV, Schwartz, TU et al.. 2020. Nat Commun 11, 1772.
    doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15642-wPMID:32286308
  4. The AAA + ATPase TorsinA polymerizes into hollow helical tubes with 8.5 subunits per turn. Demircioglu, FE, Zheng, W, McQuown, AJ, Maier, NK, Watson, N, Cheeseman, IM, Denic, V, Egelman, EH, Schwartz, TU. 2019. Nat Commun 10, 3262.
    doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11194-wPMID:31332180
  5. Recombinant Purification of the Periplasmic Portion of the LINC Complex. Cruz, VE, Schwartz, TU. 2018. Methods Mol Biol 1840, 17-23.
    doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-8691-0_2PMID:30141034
  6. Natively Unfolded FG Repeats Stabilize the Structure of the Nuclear Pore Complex. Onischenko, E, Tang, JH, Andersen, KR, Knockenhauer, KE, Vallotton, P, Derrer, CP, Kralt, A, Mugler, CF, Chan, LY, Schwartz, TU et al.. 2017. Cell 171, 904-917.e19.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.09.033PMID:29033133
  7. Vesicular stomatitis virus N protein-specific single-domain antibody fragments inhibit replication. Hanke, L, Schmidt, FI, Knockenhauer, KE, Morin, B, Whelan, SP, Schwartz, TU, Ploegh, HL. 2017. EMBO Rep 18, 1027-1037.
    doi: 10.15252/embr.201643764PMID:28396572
  8. The Antiviral Mechanism of an Influenza A Virus Nucleoprotein-Specific Single-Domain Antibody Fragment. Hanke, L, Knockenhauer, KE, Brewer, RC, van Diest, E, Schmidt, FI, Schwartz, TU, Ploegh, HL. 2016. mBio 7, .
    doi: 10.1128/mBio.01569-16PMID:27965447
  9. LINC complexes promote homologous recombination in part through inhibition of nonhomologous end joining. Lawrence, KS, Tapley, EC, Cruz, VE, Li, Q, Aung, K, Hart, KC, Schwartz, TU, Starr, DA, Engebrecht, J. 2016. J Cell Biol 215, 801-821.
    doi: 10.1083/jcb.201604112PMID:27956467
  10. The apo-structure of the leucine sensor Sestrin2 is still elusive. Saxton, RA, Knockenhauer, KE, Schwartz, TU, Sabatini, DM. 2016. Sci Signal 9, ra92.
    doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aah4497PMID:27649739
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