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Research News and Notes: November 2013
George Makhatadze, Constellation Professor of Biocomputation and Bioinformatics, was recently awarded $1,178,571 by the National Science Foundation.
In his role as principle investigator, Makhatadze’s major goal of this research project, jointly funded by Molecular Biophysics in the Division of MCB and Physics of Living Systems Program in the Division of Physics, is to understand the role of charge-charge interactions in determining the thermodynamic stability of proteins and modulation of the folding energy landscape. It relies on the synergy between computer simulations and experiments. This study will test the hypothesis that charge-charge interactions on the protein surface are important determinants of the folding energy landscape.
Approaches developed during the previous funding cycle significantly advanced the ability to predict the effects of surface charge-charge interactions on protein stability and provided an important tool that allows the combination of computer simulations, inspired by the energy landscape theory, with experimental measurements of the rates for protein folding/unfolding.
Specific questions that will be addressed are: What is the role of charge-charge interactions in shaping the folding energy landscape? What is the effect that electrostatic interactions have on defining the protein kinetic stability? What is the role of salt-bridges in defining the stability of collagen molecule?