Subgroups

Subgroups

Bioenergetics

The Bioenergetics Subgroup held two symposia at the 56th Annual Meeting on February 24, 2012. The morning symposium, entitled Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain Disease and Therapeutics, was organized and chaired by Shelagh Ferguson-Miller and Lawrence Prochaska. The symposium covered a wide range of mitochondrial disease-related topics from the organism level down to molecular structures with approximately 200 people in attendance. The first speaker, Russell Swerdlow, University of Kansas, presented on Mitochondria and Sporadic Neurodegenerative Disease, focusing on the relationship between brain aging, neurodegenerative disease, and mitochondria, showing that a large groupof patients with Alzheimer’s exhibited mutations in mitochondrial DNA encoding subunits of cytochrome c oxidase. Maik Huttemann, Wayne State University, presented on Cytochrome c Oxidase: An Illuminating Target For Non-Invasive Treatment of Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury and reported exciting findings on the protective effects of near-infrared radiation on ischemia/reperfusion injury, which indicate new directions in clinical treatment of heart attack. Andrew Dillin, Salk Institute, presented on Perception of Mitochondrial Stress By Distal Cells: The Mitokine Hypothesis, describing recent findingsfrom studies in C. elegans that suggest that mitochondria may establish and perpetuate therate of aging for the whole organism using specific mitokine signals that are transmitted from cell to cell. Lawrence Prochaska, Wright State University,presented on Modeling Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain Diseases; Mutational Analysis of Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit III. He described studies using R. sphaeroides mutants in cytochrome oxidase to model human disease states and found that perturbation of conserved lipid binding sites in subunit III of the enzyme leads to inactivation of enzymatic activities which can partially be restored by the addition oflipid.

The afternoon symposium on Structure-Function of Hetero-Oligomeric Membrane Protein Complexes, organized by Bill Cramer and Di Xia, presented a structure-function perspective on membrane protein complexes for which an understanding of bioenergetic mechanisms is central to understanding. Petra Fromme described a new approach to structure determination of membrane proteins by time-resolved nano-crystallography using an X-ray free electron laser. Leonid Sazanov reported on structure and mechanism of the respiratory NADH dehydrogenase, complex I. Di Xia discussed the mechanism of bifurcated electron transfer at the quinol oxidation site of the cytochrome *bc*1 complex. Bryan Krantz discussed the energetics of Anthrax toxin translocation, which undergoes unfolding during translocation through a channel made by bacterial protective antigen, and is powered by the electrochemical trans-membrane proton gradient, for which a structure-based mechanism was proposed. Robert Stroud described the crystallographic structure and function of the proteintranslocating channel *Sec*YEβ complex from the archaeon *Pyrococcus furiosus*.

The 2012 Young Bioenergeticist Award was given to Kambiz Alavian, who is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Elizabeth A. Jonas at Yale University. Congratulations to Kambiz, who emerged as the winner among four young bioenergeticists, all with excellent credentials.

Gyorgy Hajnoczky , Bioenergetics Subgroup, Co-Chair


Membrane Biophysics

2012 Annual Symposium: The focus of the 2012 Membrane Biophysics Subgroup Symposium was Dancing with New Structures- Insights into Transport Function. The meeting was organized and chaired by Paul Slesinger, Salk Institute, and reported on cutting-edge structure-driven studies of both transporters and ion channels.

After the Symposium, the annual Cole Award dinner was held, and Meyer Jackson, University of Wisconsin received the 2012 Cole Award. He
regaled the audience with tales from his career, including his period in the NIH Laboratory of Biophysics (founded by Kacy Cole), as well as his more recent work on synaptic vesicle fusion.

2013 Annual Symposium: Diomedes Logothetis, Virginia Commonwealth University, the incoming subgroup Chair, and Brad Rothberg, Temple University, are busy organizing the 2013 the Membrane Biophysics Symposium. The 2013 program will aim to feature macromolecular assemblies regulating structure and function of ion channels and transporters. Feel free to contact the organizers if you have new, exciting stories to present. The program will be submitted to the Society in draft form by the end of July, 2012. Stay tuned for more details, and see you in Philadelphia!

Elections: Henry Colecraft, Columbia University, was elected Chair-elect at the 2012 Subgroup business meeting. He will be responsible for organizing the 2014 symposium. Chris Ahern, University of British Columbia, was elected Secretary-Treasurer. He will take over for Mike White, who has held the position for the last three years.

We thank all of the nominees running for office and everyone for participating in the voting. If you would like to join the Membrane Biophysics
subgroup and attend the dinner next year, please visit http://www.biophysics.org/MembershipSubgroups/ Subgroups/tabid/103/Default.aspx

Subgroup Email List: The subgroup has an email distribution list. Members may contact Chris Ahern (chrisahern@gmail.com) for information about sending out email announcements of conferences or meetings.

Mike White, Membrane Biophysics Subgroup, Past Secretary-Treasurer


Biopolymers in vivo

Symposium 2012:The variety of topics this year was breathtaking, ranging from atomic-level views of biopolymer stability and folding under crowded conditions, to the birth and death of ribosomes and signaling complexes in living cells.

We kicked off the afternoon with our first changing of the guard. Having helped found our Subgroup, Margaret Cheung relinquished the Chair to Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede. In related news, our Chair-Elect is Lila Gierasch, and Michael Feig continues as our Secretary Treasurer.

Thomas Record set the tone for the symposium in his keynote talk by describing how the hard repulsive effects of crowding can be separated from the more conventional chemical interactions. Christine Keating followed up with a fascinating account of how combinations of aqueous polymer solutions can mimic the cytoplasm. Sarah Woodson’s focus was on her pioneering work on crowding effects on nucleic acids.

The selection committee had a difficult task choosing postdoc-talk awardees from the large number of excellent poster abstracts, but they chose well. Fred Etoc moved the symposium into real cells and showed—literally—how magnetic manipulation of signaling “hotspots” can reveal the secrets of signal amplification, and Sangjin Kim went all superresolution on us to show the spatial organization of mRNA in bacterial cells.

Huan-Xiang Zhou stuck mainly to simulations to show how crowding affects protein folding and ligand binding at the atomic level. Gary Pielak rounded out the experiment-based talks by describing his mostly empirical studies on how crowding, both in vitro and in cells, affects protein stability and RNA folding. The symposium ended on a high point with Terence Hwa’s fascinating and quantitative talk relating bacterial growth laws to what happens in cells at the level of the ribosome and proteome.

After only an hour’s rest, we reconvened for an outstanding subgroup dinner at La Villa in the Gas Lamp District. The dinner not only provided
sustenance and a convivial atmosphere, it also delivered an outstanding networking opportunity for grad students, postdocs, faculty and speakers. If you could not attend the dinner this year, we urge you to sign up next time. We hope to see you in the crowd in Philadelphia.
 
Gary J. Pielak & Huan-Xiang Zhou, 2012 Symposium Organizers
 

IDP

Anuja Chandrasekar, University of Texas Health Science Center, was the recent Student Research Achievement Award winner for the IDP subgroup. Anuja investigates the intrinsically disordered protein neurogranin, one of the molecules implicated in synaptic plasticity. Neurogranin’s only documented function in vivo is to bind to calmodulin. She uses in vitro biochemical approaches, along with mathematical simulations to address the role of neurogranin in regulating calmodulin dynamics. As a biomedical engineering undergraduate, she was attracted to the complex function of the brain, and specifically molecules acting as memory stores.

Elisar Barbar and Jianhan Chen completed their terms as Subgroup Chair and Secretary-Treasurer, and Doug Barrick and Steve Metallo took over as Subgroup Chair and Secretary-Treasurer. The Subgroup elected Ashok Deniz and Liz Rhoades as Chair-Elect and Secretary Treasurer-Elect. Ursala Jakob and Garyk Papoian were elected Co-Chairs for the 2013 IDP Subgroup Symposium and Richard Kriwacki was elected Council member. The Subgroup also elected two new junior officers: Maria Antonieta Sanchez Farran, Pennsylvania State University, as the Graduate Student Representative and Ariele Viacava Follis, St. Jude’s Research Hospital, as the Postdoctoral Representative. Remember to like the BPS Intrinsically Disordered Protein Subgroup on Facebook to receive live updates and notifications on recent IDP publications!

Steven Metallo, IDP Secretary-Treasurer

May 2012 Table of Contents