Professor; DPhil, Oxford University, England; Postdoctoral Fellow,
Princeton University and California Institute of Technology; Rhodes
Scholar; Alfred P. Sloan Fellow; UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award; John
Simon Guggenheim Fellow; UCLA Faculty Research Lectureship; National
Academy of Sciences Member; American Academy of Arts and Sciences Member.
Description of Research:
In our group, protein structures are determined by x-ray crystallography,
and structures are related to function by biochemical and genetic methods.
At present the structure and action of half a dozen proteins are being studied. These include the multisubunit, regulated enzymes glutamine synthetase and RuBisCO; diphtheria toxin, a proenzyme that crosses the cell plasma membrane
and stops protein synthesis; and several designed proteins. Excellent facilities for structure determination are shared with other members of
the Biological Structure Group.
A central question of biochemistry is how the amino acid sequence of a
protein determines its three-dimensional structure. The goal is to be able
to predict the structure from the sequence, a matter of great practical importance. One computational approach being developed is to describe a 3D structure by a 3D profile. The 3D profile can score the compatibility of any amino acid sequence with the 3D structure. A high compatibility score
indicates the sequence may be folded as the structure. A second approach is
to test rules of protein folding by designing and synthesizing a simple
protein, and then using x-ray crystallography to compare the actual
structure with the design.
What are the interactions that stabilize proteins or which permits proteins
to recognize other proteins or small molecules? These questions are being explored with hydrophobic moments and Atomic Solvation Parameters (ASPs).
These are semi-empirical quantities that characterize interactions of amino
acid residues. ASPs give an estimate of the hydrophobic contribution to the free energy of interaction.
Eisenberg Research Group
Molecular Biology and Physical Chemistry: protein structure; protein
folding and design profiles; protein stability and biological recognition.
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