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Molecular Biology Mysteries: Knotting and linking in Proteins

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 11:30am - 12:30pm
Keller 3-180
Kenneth Millett (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Proteins are large macromolecules constituted by chains of amino acid residues to accomplish many biological tasks required by living organisms: catalyzing reactions, DNA replication and repair, and moving molecules around. Imagining how these protein molecules are formed (i.e. folded) into three-dimensional structures lead biologists to believe that their knotting was biologically impossible but, in fact, certain proteins do contain knotted features. How and why’’ provides another of the biological mysteries catalyzing contemporary research. In this second lecture, we will explore the biological context and the mathematics that continues to be employed to illuminate these questions.