Structural Biology and Biophysics Seminar (SBBS)
D6: Structural Biology and Biophysics I – 22827 (Fall 2022)
D7: Structural Biology and Biophysics II – 24284 (Spring 2023)
(2 hrs/week; 1 CP)
Stephan Grzesiek, Sebastian Hiller, Rod Lim, Timm Maier
The Structural Biology and Biophysics Seminar series (SBBS) is organized by PhD students of the Biozentrum, University of Basel since 2009. World-leading scientists are invited to present their current work to an audience of students, researchers and PIs. Typical lectures in this series describe applications of advanced structural biology and biophysics methods to solve biological problems. Methods include NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, surface plasmon resonance and atomic force microscopy, but not only. The list of the past SBBS speakers is accessible here.
The talks take place on Tuesdays, the time will depend on speaker, room U1.197
Unless mentioned, attendance is open to all interested people, without registration. The Spring Semester 2023 is the following:
February 21st, 2023 at 12:15
SBBS introductory meeting for students
March 14th, 2023 at 14:15, by ZOOM
ATTENTION: NEW TALK TIME
Title: Defining How Sequence and Local Chromatin Context Regulate Gene Expression
RNA polymerase (Pol) II is regulated during all stages of transcription to ensure appropriate gene expression. This regulation involves interaction with various factors that modulate Pol II activity as it traverses across genes. I will discuss recent cryo-electron microscopy(EM) work that has uncovered how Pol II is both negatively and positively regulated by transcription elongation factors. Pol II activity is also influenced by the organization of the genome. Genome organization is regulated at multiple levels ranging from the underlying DNA sequence to large scale interactions between chromosomes. Our recent efforts to understand how these multiple levels of genome organisation are used to regulate gene expression will be discussed. Finally, I will show new computational tools we are developing to improve cryo-EM data collection to make cryo-EM more accessible to the broader community.
Prof. Seychelle Vos
March 21st, 2023 at 12:15, room U1.197
Title: The kinetochore: an intrinsically divisive molecular machine
Chromosome bi-orientation is the pre-condition for successful cell division, but how it is achieved on the molecular level in settings as diverse as mitosis and meiosis remains poorly understood. Kinetochores play a decisive role in promoting chromosome bi-orientation and in imparting fidelity to the chromosome segregation process. In addition to binding microtubules, they recognize and correct improper microtubule attachments, and act as control centers to make the timing of cell division contingent on completion of bi-orientation through the spindle assembly checkpoint. How are these different activities regulated and integrated within the kinetochore’s structure? To answer this question, our laboratory took up the long-term goal of reconstituting kinetochores and their functions in vitro, focusing on human kinetochores as model system. The reconstitution is challenging, because kinetochores consist collectively of ~35 core subunits , and several additional regulatory subunits, for a total of ~100 different polypeptides. The challenge is compounded by the embedding of kinetochores in the complex and incompletely understood environment of the centromere, a specialized chromatin domain whose organization promotes epigenetic propagation of the kinetochore assembly site through cell generations. As a summary of our work so far, I will present three large reconstitutions, comprising two major stable kinetochore sub-complexes (each with molecular mass ³ 1 MDa), and the signaling ensemble of the spindle assembly checkpoint. I will illustrate what organizational principles have emerged from this work, often through parallel structural work. All three reconstitutions reflect stable interactions at thermodynamic equilibrium, and therefore cannot be considered “alive”. The ultimate challenge for future in vitro work on the kinetochore, and a more general challenge for any in vitro reconstitution, is to ignite the energy-dissipating reactions that promote functional regulation and informational processing. We would like to build particles that, like their cellular counterparts, sense bi-orientation (or lack thereof) and turn the checkpoint on or off depending on context. This will require the addition of enzymes, most notably mitotic kinases and phosphatases, whose opposing regulation determines, at any given time, appropriate context-dependent signaling outcomes.
April 25th, 2023 at 12:15, room U1.197
Title: Structural basis for drug and metabolite uptake via Solute Carrier (SLC) Transporters
Recent advances in single particle cryo-EM have accelerated research in membrane proteins. However, small membrane proteins remain a challenge due to their dynamic nature and featureless structures outside the membrane. One strategy has been to use single chain nanobodies to overcome these challenges. In this seminar I will present our strategy for the selection of high affinity synthetic nanobodies against small (50kDa) solute carrier transporters. My group focuses on understanding how nutrient transporters recognise and transport drugs and xenobiotic compounds in the body. I will present our latest insights into several pharmaceutically important SLC transporters involved in vitamin and metabolite transport and how insights into their structure and function can be used to develop more targeted therapeutics.
Prof. Simon Newstead
May 2nd, 2023 at 12:15, room U1.197
May 9th, 2023 at 12:15, room U1.197
May 30th, 2023 at 12:15, room U1.197
Important information for students enrolled at the University of Basel:
- You can earn one credit point (CP) by registering to the course.
- To get the CP for this course, all of the proposed seminars have to be attended from start to finish and a written exam in the form of an essay must be passed.
- It is your responsibility to check this website for eventual updates/changes to the program.
- Each in-person seminar is followed by a lunch with the speaker. Contact the host if you are interested in participating.
- List of the past SBBS speakers
- Members of the SBBS organizing committee
- Twitter: @SBBS_Biozentrum
- Zoom: TBA