Brookhaven Lecture

"Structural Biology of Metal Homeostasis and Usage"

Presented by Qun Liu, Biology Department

Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 4:00 pm — Large Seminar Room, Bldg. 510

Research into generation of sustainable clean energy from plants and microbes is a core part of BNL's mission for DOE. In this context, metals are essential micro-nutrients that support the life of all living organisms including plants and microbes. They are present in more than one-third of cellular proteins in which they facilitate a wide variety of processes that are essential to life including catalyzing biological reactions and sensing metals to trigger cellular responses. While playing essential roles, many metals can be toxic and cause cellular damage or even death if their levels become too high, so their intracellular levels are maintained under tight homeostatic control. Structural biology provides foundational knowledge to understand the role metals play and thus optimize the growth of plants and microbes to address energy challenges. I will show how we use the structural biology techniques of X-ray crystallography at NSLS-II and cryo-electron microscopy at LBMS to understand this homeostasis. I will also describe examples of how specific metals such as calcium and zinc affect key biological processes, including responses to stress, innate immunity, and even cell death.

Hosted by: Bjoern Schenke

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