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Event Detail (Archived)

Cryo-EM of Protein and Nucleoprotein Polymers at Near-atomic Resolution

Event Details

Friday Lecture Series
Edward Egelman, Ph.D., Harrison Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Virginia Medical School

Cryo-EM has recently undergone a revolution, driven by direct electron detectors, and a near-atomic level of resolution can now be reached almost routinely for many biological samples. While complexes such as the ribosome can be solved at higher resolution and more readily by cryo-EM than they can be by crystallography, they can still be crystallized. However, a vast number of complexes of biological interest are helical polymers, and most of these can never be crystallized.

In this talk, Dr. Egelman will describe the application of cryo-EM to helical assemblies in several different areas, ranging from bacterial pili essential for pathogenesis (in the diseases cholera, bacterial meningitis, gonorrhea, and urinary tract infections), to the flagellar filaments that propel bacteria and archaea, to viruses that infect hyperthermophilic archaea which live in nearly boiling acid. We now understand how the stability of DNA in several of these viruses is achieved, which appears to be in the same way that bacterial spores maintain the integrity of their genome in the harshest of environments. Several themes emerge from this work, including how small numbers of amino acid changes over evolution can lead to dramatic changes in higher-order assemblies, providing an amplification mechanism for evolutionary divergence.

Dr. Egelman received his B.A. in physics and his Ph.D. in biophysics, both from Brandeis University. He was a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, and became an assistant professor at Yale University in 1984. Dr. Egelman joined the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1989 as an associate professor, becoming a full professor in 1993. In 1999, he moved to the University of Virginia Medical School where he is currently the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Microbiology and of the Biophysical Society.

Justin Sloboda
(212) 327-7785
Open to
Thomas Walz, Ph.D.
Refreshments, 3:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m., Abby Lounge
Justin Sloboda
(212) 327-7785

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