Cutting Lecture on November 1, 2019

Friday, November 1, 2019 Munzer Auditorium 12:30 - 1:30pm

The Department of Chemical and Systems Biology Presents:

Rama Ranganathan, MD, PhD
Center for Physics of Evolving Systems
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering
University of Chicago


“Protein mechanics: the link between structure, function, and evolution”


Proteins can fold spontaneously into well-defined three-dimensional structures and can carry out complex biochemical reactions such as binding, catalysis, and long-range information transfer. The precision required for these properties is achieved while also preserving evolvability – the capacity to adapt in response to fluctuating selection pressures in the environment. What is the basic design of proteins that supports all of these properties? Recent work suggests that rather than direct physical analysis, statistical analysis of genome sequences provides a powerful and general approach to this problem. Using different methodologies, this approach has revealed both direct structural contacts as well as collective functional modes within protein structures. In this talk, I will present new approaches for probing the physical mechanisms implied by the evolution-based models – a step towards a theory for the physics of proteins that is consistent with evolution.


Reading Material:

  1. Arjun S. Raman, K. Ian White, and Rama Ranganathan. Origins of Allostery and Evolvability in Proteins: A Case Study 2016, Cell 166, 468–480 July 14, 2016 ª 2016 Elsevier Inc.
  2. Doeke R. Hekstra, K. Ian White, Michael A. Socolich, Robert W. Henning, Vukica Srajer & Rama Ranganathan. Electric-field-stimulated protein mechanics 2016, Nature 402, Vol 540 December 15, 2016, doi: 10.1038/nature20571