Distinct Structural Features of IDPs Predict their Potential to Drive Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation

Friday, September 18, 2020


Dr. Steven T Whitten

Texas State University

Time: 4:45 PM

Location: Hand 1100

Abstract:
Protein liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), which involves a spontaneous de-mixing of the cellular milieu, is increasingly recognized as an important organizing phenomenon in cells. The physical mechanisms responsible for LLPS are not fully understood, but it is known to be facilitated primarily by proteins that are intrinsically disordered (ID) or that contain large ID regions. In this presentation, we discuss the structural features of ID proteins (IDPs) and how some of these features are utilized biologically to drive LLPS. We demonstrate how sequence-based calculations can be leveraged for identifying proteins with these structural features, and thus used for finding new test systems for studying LLPS and the myriad ways it is used by the cell.

Bio:
B.S., physics, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1994
Ph.D., biophysics, Johns Hopkins University, 2000
Postdoc, Florida State University & National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 2000
Senior Scientist/Postdoc, Red Storm Scientific & Univ. Texas Medical Branch, 2001-2009
Assistant Professor, Dept of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Texas State Univ., 2009-2015
Associate Professor, Dept of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Texas State Univ., 2015-present


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