Biophysical Newsletter - April 2014






computational approach to constructing structural ensembles of IDPs to provide a picture of their energy landscapes. Tzachi Hagai , from Madan Babu’s laboratory at the Unviersity of Cambridge, gave the second Molecular Kinetics Postdoctoral Award presentation and discussed bioinformatics analyses of host-mimicking linear motifs in the regulation of viral proteins. Mark Bowen , Stony Brook University, followed with a presentation of how the NMDA receptor may be allosterically modulated by compaction of its disordered intra- cellular C-terminal domain. The symposium concluded with an anchoring keynote lecture by Rohit Pappu , Washington Uni- versity, who described a framework that integrates polymer theory and atomistic simulation to de- code the sequence-ensemble relationships of IDPs. In particular, Pappu discussed how charge charac- teristics of IDPs govern the globule-coil transition and how the theoretical framework can be used to guide the tuning of the peptide sequence to achieve ensembles with specific characteristics. — Jianhan Chen and Ben Schuler , Program Co-Chairs BIV Biophysics in the cell comes alive at the BIV symposium The fourth symposium of the Biopolymers In Vivo (BIV) subgroup, held at the Biophysical Society Meeting in San Francisco, was very suc- cessful and featured many exciting lectures. The mission of the BIV subgroup, founded four years ago by Margaret Cheung and Pernilla Wittung- Stafshede , is to promote the quantitative under- standing of living systems from the molecular to the whole organism level. BIV is interested in how---and whybiomolecular processes differ be- tween test tube and cell. This year’s BIV program chairs, Gilad Haran and Jeffrey Skolnick , chose the theme of molecular machines and how they func- tion inside cells. Keynote speaker Judith Frydman highlighted her recent work onTRiC/CCT chaperones, while Julia

IDP The 8 th Annual IDP Subgroup Symposium in San Francisco had the theme Intrinsic Protein Disorder: Structure and Mechanisms and catered to a large audience. The keynote lecture by Jane Clark , University of Cambridge, focused on an impressive array of structural and kinetic experi- ments to inform on mechanisms of IDP interac- tions via induced fit and conformational selection. Clark also discussed several questions central to understanding the principles of IDP interactions, including the dependence of binding kinetics on the level of residual structure, salt concentration, and charge properties. Robert Best , of NIH, followed with a description of his recent coarse-grained modeling study of IDP binding to one or more specific targets. An- drea Soranno , from Ben Shculer’s laboratory at the University of Zurich, gave the first Molecular Ki- netics Postdoctoral Research Award presentation, which combined single molecule fluorescence approaches and polymer theory to describe how crowding affects the conformational ensembles of IDPs. This was followed by Jean Baum, from Rutgers University, who spoke about the modula- tion of conformations and aggregation kinetics of N-terminal acetylated alpha-synuclein by binding of copper ions and beta-synuclein based on a set of clever NMR experiments. Michael Woodside , Unviersity of Alberta, Canada, ended this session with a discussion of his intriguing visualization of diverse transient structures in small oligomers of alpha-synuclein detected by pulling experiments with optical tweezers. After a short break, Richard Kriwacki , from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, discussed the functional roles of dual cyclin binding motifs in p21, regulation of p27 by tyrosine phosphoryla- tion and his most recent efforts in developing small molecule inhibitors of p27 for combating hearing loss. Martin Blackledge , of the Institut de Biologie Structurale, France, described his

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