Department of Mathematics Colloquium
|Understanding how proteins evolve and
function is vital for developing better drugs or predicting the
outbreak of disease. Yet in spite of its importance, little is
known about the underlying biophysical mechanisms behind protein
evolution. Computational biophysics has emerged as a useful tool
in this area due to its unique ability to obtain a detailed, atomistic
view of proteins and how they interact. I will give two examples
from our studies where computational biophysics has provided valuable
(i) Protein evolution in viruses. Our results suggest that the amino acid changes that occur during high temperature
evolution of a virus increase capsid stability. I will discuss the implications of these findings.
(ii) Determining realistic structural ensembles for intrinsically disordered proteins. Most methods for determining protein structure rely on the protein folding into a single conformation, and thus are not suitable for disordered proteins. I will describe a new approach that combines experiment and simulation to generate structures for disordered proteins.