DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICAL & STATISTICAL SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
  

MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY SEMINAR
 

MONDAY, February 10, 2003

3:00 PM

CAB 657
 

Dr. Jack Tuszynski

Department of Physics
University of Alberta

 

From the Structure of Tubulin to the Function of Microtubules

 

Tubulin is a functional protein that has been highly conserved in the evolution of eukaryotic cells over the past two billion years or so. Its heterodimer is a building block in the formation of the key cellular filaments called micrtoubules. Microtubules form mitotic spindles in cell division and provide pathways for intracellular transport using motor proteins kinesin and dynein. In 1997 the group of K. Downing succeeded in crystalizing tubulin which enabled detailed theoretical studies and computer modeling of both tubulin and microtubules. In this talk, I will summarize the results obtained in my group concerning the key physical properties of this protein in its monomeric, dimeric and polymerized form. I will discuss the electric charge distribution, the dipole moment, conformational states, tubulin-tubulin interactions as well as tubulin-kinesin coupling. Time permitting, I will reveal the results of our latest molecular dynamics simulations of close to 300 tubulin isotypes with some clues regarding structural stability.