Thu, Oct. 25, 2018, 4:30pm
Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Lecture Hall A32
Host: Michael Hecht
Evolution and engineering of protein electron transfer
Life started and continues to perpetuate on Earth due to planet-wide disequilibria between reducing and oxidizing phases in the crust, ocean and atmosphere. Oxidoreductases are critical enzymes that couple electron transfer to catalysis, allowing life to access this energy and generate the building blocks for bio-macromolecule synthesis. Modern oxidoreductases are highly sophisticated nano-machines that likely had simple ancestors that were present billions of years past at the first spark of life. A structural bioinformatics approach is described for inferring the three-dimensional structure of early redox proteins. These models lead to synthetic oxidoreductases that are designed computationally and validated in the laboratory. It is hoped that understanding the nature of ancestral oxidoreductases could provide clues to conditions surrounding the origins of life, and develop design rules for creating synthetic nano-bio-electronic devices.