April 24, Tue 2012
1:00 pm, MRB 200 Conference Room
Dr. K. Jebrell Glover
Department of Chemistry, Lehigh University
Proteins as Architects of Cell Membranes: Probing the structure of caveolin-1
Caveolae are highly-curved invaginated micro-domains located in the plasma membrane that play a central role in a variety of cellular processes. Caveolins (1, 2, and 3) are the most important proteins found in caveolae, and are responsible for giving caveolae their unusual “flask-like” shape. Recent evidence has shown that improper regulation and mutant forms of caveolin can result in a variety of diseases including Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, cancer, and heart disease. Caveolin adopts an unusual intra-membrane “horseshoe” conformation where both its N- and C-termini face the cytoplasm, and this conformation is thought to promote membrane curvature. In addition, via high-order oligomerization, caveolin is thought to form a structural backbone which stabilizes the membrane curvature. Using biophysical techniques (nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), fluorescence spectroscopy, and analytical ultracentrifugation) we have built a topological model of caveolin-1 that is based on experimental data.