Molecular Biology Mysteries: Protein knotting and linking due to disulfide bonds

Friday, June 21, 2019 - 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Kenneth Millett (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Disulfide bonds arise from the oxidation of cysteine residues in proteins. One such bond in a protein creates a closed loop with free initial and terminal segments thereby forming a lasso structure. With two or more disulfide bonds, topologically complex graph structures are formed whose spatial situation can exhibit knotting and linking features. How and why’’ provides still another of the biological mysteries studied in contemporary research. In this third lecture, we will explore the biological context and the mathematics that continues to be employed to illuminate these questions. In closing, we will consider the overarching implications of the geometric and topological structures found in DNA and proteins and the mysteries raised.