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CBE Seminar - Dr. Christina Payne

Thursday, November 29, 2018
9:30am – 10:30am

Storrs Campus
UTEB 150

Understanding Protein-Carbohydrate Recognition Phenomena Using Computationally-Driven Approaches

Dr. Christina Payne Molecular Separations Program Director Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems NSF

Carbohydrates are the most abundant biological molecules on Earth and play important roles in metabolism, cell wall structure, and cellular-level processes. They also happen to be one of the most structurally diverse natural substrates, constructed from a variety of chemically distinct monosaccharides and glycosidic linkages. In response to this diversity, carbohydrate-binding proteins have evolved many different structural approaches to enable recognition of and adsorption to complex carbohydrate substrates. Molecular simulation and free energy calculations, coupled with structural and biochemical observations, can provide extraordinary resolution of molecular-level protein-carbohydrate recognition mechanisms. In this talk, I will describe two recent studies wherein we used molecular modeling to reveal the underpinnings of experimentally-observed protein-carbohydrate recognition phenomena. In the first example, we will examine the amorphous cellulose recognition mechanisms of -sandwich carbohydrate binding modules (CBMs), a non-catalytic domain of carbohydrate-active enzymes. Counterintuitively, our results suggest these CBMs accommodate cello-oligomers in a bi-directional fashion, and the approximate structural symmetry of the substrate enables such promiscuity. In the second example, we will investigate how multi-modularity, specifically the glycosylated linker, of fungal cellobiohydrolases mediates adsorption of the enzyme to crystalline cellulose surfaces. Our results, supported by experimental binding affinity studies, suggest the glycosylated linkers impart non-specific, dynamic binding functionality, beyond that of the CBM domain alone. In general, our approaches reveal fundamental insights into the complex solid and soluble carbohydrate substrate recognition mechanisms of biomolecules at interfaces; the findings of which hold considerable promise in advancing lignocellulosic biotechnology and glycome mapping tools. I will conclude with a brief overview of the core programs of the CBET Division of the Engineering Directorate at NSF and will highlight some of the recently announced solicitations and Dear Colleague Letters.

Dr. Christina M. Payne is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky and program director of the Molecular Separations program in the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems Division at the National Science Foundation. She received her B. S. in Chemical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 2002 and her Ph. D. from Vanderbilt University in 2007. After completing her Ph.D., Dr. Payne joined URS (now AECOM) as a chemical process engineer in the oil and gas indust


Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (primary), UConn Health Molecular Biology and Biophysics, UConn Master Calendar

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