Physics at Virginia

"Protein Folding: Energy, Entropy, and Prion Diseases"

Bernard Gerstman , Florida International University
[Host: Art Brill]
Living systems are the epitome of self-organized complexity. The self-organization occurs on all scales, from the molecular up to the organismal level. The machines responsible for maintaining organization are protein molecules that receive energy and convert it to work. However, protein molecules themselves must self-organize into highly specific shapes. The folding of proteins is a self-organizing process in which a long chain heteropolymer in a disorganized configuration spontaneously changes its shape to a highly organized structure in milliseconds. I explain how the energy and entropy landscape of protein chains is shaped to allow self-organization. I also show how these principles can be used in molecular level investigations of protein-protein interactions that lead to both beneficial dimerization or disastrous, disease producing and potentially fatal protein aggregation.
Friday, January 25, 2008
4:00 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special time.
Note special room.

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