Tuesday, October 24th: DNA microtubules: progress and prospects in de novo designed macromolecular machinery

Event Date: 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 4:00pm

Event Date Details: 

Refreshments served at 3:40pm.

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640
  • Physics Colloquium

Protein microtubules organize space, support morphology and guide molecular motors in all eukaryotic cells.  These roles are mission-critical for cell division.  Evolution has, accordingly, tightly constrained microtubules.  They exhibit a high degree of homology across all eukaryotic organisms, from yeast to human.  Being thus a relatively primitive example of biomolecular machinery, microtubules are an excellent target for mimicry via de novo design. 

In addition, many well-studied aspects of microtubules, such as their stiffness, stability, and dynamics of assembly, offer quantitative metrics for assessing mimics and testing models that motivate their design.  I will describe our recent and ongoing efforts to build microtubules out of DNA and discuss the implications for improved understanding of biological design and enhanced capability in DNA nanotechnology.  


Deborah Fygenson, UCSB