Biophysics and Soft Matter Seminar

Coiled coils and conformational switching for synthetic molecular motor designs

Mon, 13 Jun 2016
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Biophysics and Soft Matter Seminar
 
Lara Small
Durham University
 
Coiled coils and conformational switching for synthetic molecular motor designs
 
Jun 13, 2016
 

Synopsis

One of the interests of our group in Durham is to design peptide systems which could be combined with other molecular components to produce peptide/protein-based synthetic motors.

The coiled coil is a peptide motif commonly found in nature. Previous studies of natural, mutant and designed coiled coils have revealed some 'rules' for coiled-coil design (though not without caveats); this, combined with their stability, make them an attractive motif to use in synthetic constructs.

I will briefly introduce coiled coils and coiled-coil design, and then describe the concept of the Bar motor, a two-footed molecular motor. We aim to produce a system which is able to undergo controlled conformational changes as part of its walking mechanism. Our current experimental realisation of the Bar motor combines designed coiled-coil peptides with azobenzene, a compound with UV light-induced conformational switching properties. I will discuss our current results, and next steps.