2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

A computational approach to understanding the role of proteins in microtubule assembly in Caenorhabditis elegans

Peter K. Windsor* and Rachel Prins
Dr. Bill R. Miller and Dr. Stephanie Maiden, Faculty Mentors

Microtubules are a class of cytoskeleton essential for several cellular processes including chromosome separation and neurotransmitter transport. A variety of human diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and cancer, stem from cellular defects that are a result of abnormal microtubule construction. This abnormal construction has been linked to genetic mutations in a family of proteins called collapsin response mediator proteins (CRMPs). CRMP-4 is a specific CRMP that has been observed to mutate and negatively affect microtubule construction. Using computational methods, the wild type protein and the mutated proteins were simulated and visualized on an atomic level. Analyses of these simulations have shown that these mutations affect the CRMP-4 structure by destabilizing the area around the mutation. Counter mutations have been proposed to stabilize the unstable areas of the mutated protein in an attempt to regain wild-type functionality. 


Keywords: Microtubules, Computational, Proteins


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 103-3
Location: MG 1096
Time: 8:30

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