Chemistry Department Hosts Guest Speaker
The Chemistry Department is pleased to host Dr. E James Petersson of the University of Pennsylvania from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14, in SLC 275. Petersson will present a lecture titled "Fluorescent Amino Acids for Studying Protein Folding and Function." All majors are welcome to attend.
Fluorescence methods can be powerful ways of studying protein folding and function, providing information on the kinetics and thermodynamics of conformational changes and binding interactions. In some cases, structural information can be extracted by using fluorophore pairs in FRET experiments. Our laboratory has developed intrinsically fluorescent amino acids that are only slightly larger than the natural aromatic amino acids, but fluoresce in the visible range, making them useful for spectroscopy and microscopy applications in physiological situations. The development of efficient synthetic routes to the amino acids, their photophysical characterization, and the directed evolution of aminoacyl tRNA synthetases for their in vivo incorporation will be described. The utility of these unnatural amino acids will be highlighted in studies of the LexA protein, which plays a key role in the ability of bacteria to rapidly evolve resistance to antibiotics, one of the major health crises of the 21st century.