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How do viruses manipulate biomembranes? Understanding influenza viral entry through molecular simulation, Peter Kasson, University of Virginia
28 September 2011 Albanova University Centre
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Influenza virus infects cells through a process of membrane fusion, also common to neurotransmitter release and vesicle trafficking. Many membrane phenomena can be well understood using continuum mechanics models, but fusion involves both a frank discontinuity and curvatures that are on the length scale of individual molecules, reducing the predictive power of such models. We have simulated membrane fusion at atomic resolution to generate a theory for the structural transitions required for fusion as well as how influenza peptides interact with lipid bilayers to promote these transitions. Work is ongoing to examine the collective behavior of multiple fusion proteins and fusion protein mutants that have known defects in fusion catalysis. Fusion presents an interesting scenario where particle simulation can add important insight for the study of large dynamic molecular assemblies in biological systems.

Dates: 28 September 2011 (13:00-14:00)
Location: Albanova University Centre
Room: A4:1069

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