Tom W. Muir
Professor of Chemistry
Painting Chromatin with Synthetic Protein Chemistry
Understanding protein function is at the heart of experimental biology. Perhaps one of grandest contemporary challenges in this area is to catalogue and then functionally characterize protein posttranslational modifications, PTMs. Modern analytical techniques reveal that most, if not all, proteins are modified at some point; it is nature’s way of imposing functional diversity on a polypeptide chain. Understanding the structural and functional consequences of all of these PTMs is a devilishly hard problem.
While standard molecular biology methods are of limited utility in this regard, modern protein chemistry has provided powerful methods that allow the detailed interrogation of protein PTMs.
In this lecture, I will highlight how these tools can be used to probe a series of problems in chromatin biology. In particular, I will discuss how histone PTMs regulate chromatin structure and function and how dysregulation of these processes can lead to disease.