Biophysical Newsletter - April 2014





Biophysical Journal Corner

Know the Editors Joshua Wand University of Pennsylvania Editor of Proteins and Nucleic Acids Section Q: What is your area of research? I am broadly interested in how the biophysi- cal properties of proteins are manifested in their biological function. We are particularly engaged in trying to reveal the nature of internal protein motion and how this influences functions rang- ing from molecular recognition to allostery and catalysis. Since the determination of the first pro- tein structures over half a century ago, the view of protein thermodynamics and function has been largely driven by the exquisite detail of the struc- tural models provided by crystallography. This is a very enthalpic perspective. For the past two decades we have been working toward using mea- sures of fast internal motion measured by NMR relaxation techniques as a quantitative proxy for conformational entropy. This has resulted in the construction of an “entropy meter” that has al- lowed us to show that changes in conformational entropy resulting from a change in functional state can be very large. A second emphasis of research rests on the ad- vantageous properties of proteins encapsulated in reverse micelles. Our original idea was to use solu- tions of encapsulated proteins prepared in very low viscosity solvents as a way to overcome the slow tumbling problem presented by large pro- teins to solution NMR. It turns out that a variety of features of the reverse micelle, derived mainly from the confined space of the water core, open other applications. These include structural stud- ies of unstable proteins through forced folding, characterization of protein hydration dynamics, structural characterization of integral and mem- brane anchored proteins among many other applications.

New & Notables Each month a few papers are highlighted in BJ with a New & Notable, which are commentaries that highlight a point, question, or controversy raised in the paper they discuss. Visit to read these articles from a recent issue of BJ . Taking Care of Bystander FRET in a Crowded Cell Membrane Environment , Amitabha Chattopad- hyay and Andrew Clayton, which highlights the paper: The FRET Signatures of Non-Interacting Pro- teins in Membranes: Simulations and Experiments , Kalina Hristova, Christopher King , Sarvenaz Sarabipour , Patrick Byrne, and Daniel Leahy Amyloid Fibrils: the Eighth Wonder of the World in Protein Folding and Aggregation , Igor Lednev, which highlights the paper: Mutational Analysis of Pre-Amyloid Intermediates: The Role of His-Tyr Interactions in Islet Amyloid Formation , Daniel Raleigh, Ling-Hsien Tu , Arnaldo Serrano , and Martin Zanni Does Cell Mechanics in Adipogenesis Offer New Keys for the Prevention and Management of Obe- sity? Thomas Franz, highlighting the paper: Does Cell Mechanics in Adipogenesis Offer New Keys for the Prevention and Management of Obesity? Amit Gefen, Naama Shoham , Pinhas Girshovitz , Rona Katzengold, Natan Shaked , and Dafna Benayahu First Demonstration of Bistability in CaMKII, a Memory Related Kinase , Paul Michalski, which highlights the paper: In Vitro Reconstitution of a CaMKII Memory Switch by an NMDA Receptor-Derived Peptide , Hidetoshi Urakubo, Miharu Sato, Shin Ishii, and Shinya Kuroda

Josh Wand

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