Our new work on oxidative folding is an effort to move beyond techniques and wade deep into novel and important biological questions. Many proteins are reinforced by disulfide bonds that are introduced by the enzyme PDI, and it has been debated whether disulfide bond formation drives protein folding or vice versa. By tracking the folding of single proteins, we found that PDI acts as a placeholder that waits for the protein folding to determine the pairing of cysteines. By allowing its substrate to decide, PDI can accurately introduce disulfides in a wide variety of proteins without the need for substrate specificity. For more information, see the article published in Cell by Pallav Kosuri et al.
Check out the 2012 Gordon Research Conference on "Single Molecule Approaches to Biology , Chaired by Julio and Stefan Hell and that serves as an interdisciplinary forum for some of the most innovative research in Biology. The conferences was a resounding success. Here are some of the participant comments:
“Excellent, thought-provoking talks. Great, diverse posters. Perfect mix of students, postdocs, PI's.”
“Speakers at the forefront of their field. Excellent discussion atmosphere. Adequate time for questions/discussion! Very stimulating.”
“Great speakers. Wide range of topics”
“The pool of speakers was amazing. They were also very friendly, open to questions and willing to share ideas”
“World class science”
“The quality of the science was outstanding. I enjoyed the longer talk format and extensive discussions that followed”
“I just thought the quality of the talks and posters was phenomenal. I would like to thank all involved with this fabulous meeting.”
In addition to the birth of Jonathan (photos), Ronen Berkovich has recently published his groundbreaking work on the speed limit of protein elasticity in PNAS. This work shows that the act of tethering a protein, an essential and indivisible component of elasticity, slows the rate at which a protein samples its free energy by several orders of magnitude. The implications of this work are very broad for the understanding of proteins under force. For example, this work shows the futility of trying to correlate the behavior of a tethered protein with that of a freely diffusing protein in bulk. Read this sea-changing paper here.