ComBio 2006 Day 3

Day 3. We’re all tiring now. The temptation to skip whole sessions grows. No, just kidding, plenty of good stuff today.

A whole lot of structural biology today.

  • RNA virus proteases as drug targets. Interesting stuff from Rolf Hilgenfeld, leader of the group that determined the SARS and HIV-1 protease structures. Crazy tales from the 2003 SARS outbreak – decode genome Sunday, write Science paper Monday, file patent Friday and so on.
  • I take an extended coffee break at this point.

  • A session on protein folding. Ray Norton from the WEHI discusses malarial surface protein MSP2, which is natively unstructured and a vaccine candidate. Steve Bottomley presents biophysical studies of aeropin, a thermostable archaeal serpin. Jacqui Matthews discusses the construction of circular proteins using inteins to study protein complexes. IMB’s Jenny Martin presents some structures of the bacterial Dsb family, proteins that catalyse correct disulphide bond formation in secreted proteins.
  • It’s all interesting enough, but nothing that really makes me go “wow”.

    Lunch and posters. I present my poster, “Prediction of protein kinase substrates using sequence-structure information”. I’ll stick it on the web somewhere, sometime. There are a few questions. Once again I find myself questioning the value of posters. It looks quite pretty though.
    In the afternoon, there’s actually a computational biology session. However, I’ve seen two of the speakers recently, another doesn’t interest me and the fourth is entitled “How to get the most out of your data”. Whenever you see a title like that, you know that someone has just discovered how to use a Perl script to parse a database entry and wants to share this miracle with the world. Fine at a workshop, not in a symposium session. So I attend “membrane proteins” instead.

  • Eva Pebay-Peyroula presents a nice structure of the mitochondrial ADP/ATP transporter. I like membrane protein structures – when I was an undergraduate there were about 3, rather more these days. Fascinating fact – humans use about their own weight in ATP per day in energy consumption. How about that!
  • I decide that this is more than enough structural biology for one day, pack up and head home early. Another full day and plenty of interest to come tomorrow.