Fassberg Seminar: CANCELLED: Facultative fluctuation in protein structure as a means of understanding dynamic features of cell morphology

Fassberg Seminar

  • Date: Apr 21, 2020
  • Time: 11:00 - 12:00
  • Speaker: Steven McKnight
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
  • Location: Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie (MPIBPC)
  • Room: Large Seminar Room
  • Host: Dirk Görlich
  • Contact: cornelia.paz@mpibpc.mpg.de
Fassberg Seminar: CANCELLED: Facultative fluctuation in protein structure as a means of understanding dynamic features of cell morphology
My presentation will describe speculative ideas and early stage research concerning the flow of genetic information from the nuclear residence of genes to the disparate, cytoplasmic sites of protein synthesis. This process is particularly important for neurons, in which the nuclear location of genes may be far-removed from localized sites of mRNA translation at active synapses. I propose that this process of information transfer is meticulously guided by transient structures formed from protein segments of low sequence complexity or intrinsic disorder. These low complexity domains are ubiquitously associated with regulatory proteins that control gene expression and RNA biogenesis, but they are also found in the central channel of nuclear pores, the nexus points of intermediate filament assembly, and the locations of action of other well-studied cellular proteins and pathways. Upon being organized into localized cellular positions via mechanisms utilizing properly folded protein domains, thereby facilitating elevated local concentration, certain low complexity domains adopt cross- interactions as described 60-70 years ago by Linus Pauling. Derivation of the atomic structure of labile polymers formed from the low complexity domain of the fused in sarcoma (FUS) RNA binding protein has demonstrated how these cross- interactions can be both structurally specific and labile to disassembly. These weakly tethered assemblies, I propose, are built to relay the passage of genetic information from one site to another within a cell, ensuring that the process is of extreme fidelity.
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