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Bogdan Bancia. Structural biology, biophysics and biochemistry. Ad Astra, 2018.

Abstract: When we think of structural biology our thought goes to proteins, the most abundant biomolecule in living organisms.

To study these proteins you have to synthesize them in the lab, making them ready for structure determination, dynamic analysis and possible interactions with other proteins.

How is a protein expressed in the lab? To answer this question you better ask a biochemist. How is the structure of a protein determined? A biophysicist will let you know. Anyway, this is interdisciplinary work so you can do a little bit of both.

As a biophysicist I worked on a protein called DnaGC, a part of the DNA replisome in E.Coli. At that time (2002) the group was working on determining the structure of this DNA replisome, which comprises a few proteins.

The crystal structure of DnaGC was known so I had to check if the structure is the same in solution (using NMR spectroscopy) and if DnaGC interacts with other proteins of this DNA replisome.

Thinking of this as a puzzle, you have to determine the structure of these proteins, their dynamics and how they interact with one another. Once you know this, the puzzle is solved and you know how this mechanism is working (in our case the DNA replisome in E.Coli.)

Generally speaking this fundamental understanding (for any protein machine) will underpin our ability to provide new therapeutics and vaccines.

Key words: protein expression and purification, protein structure determination, NMR spectroscopy, x ray crystallography, protein functions, DNA replisome, drug design


1)Replisome Architecture and Dynamics in Escherichia Coli, Mike O'Donnell, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2006
2)DNA replication proteins as potential targets for antimicrobials in drug resistant bacterial pathogens, Erika van Eijk, Bert Wittekoek, Wiep Klaas Smith, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 2017

Keywords: Structural biology


Posted by Bogdan Bancia


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