With two Nobel Prizes, the life sciences are the focus of attention this year. There will be several sessions about biochemical topics at the 3rd EuCheMS Chemistry Congress too, and Barbara Imperiali from MIT is scheduled as plenary speaker. Her first area of expertise is the mechanism of protein glycosylation, especially in procaryotes, arguably one of the most complex and important areas of protein modification.
The Imperiali Group works on glycosylation pathway enzymes and employs multienzyme arrays to identify small molecules that inhibit critical steps in pathogen glycane synthesis. These molecules are not only promising for researching reaction pathways but also for probing the role of glycopeptides in virulence and pathogenicity.
Other areas of research involved Proteins specifically designed for certain purposes, such as caged proteins, enzymes whose active centers are masked with an UV-active functional group that is released upon irradiation. These modified proteins allow the controlled induction of regulation pathways to research their role in cell signalling. Other applications of targeted protein design include fluorescence-based phosphorylation sensors and peptides that selectively target Lanthanides.