Project abstract for group wackett

Functional Genomics, Proteomics, and Biocatalysis

In today’s world of genomes, high throughput screening, and microarrays, biological research is interdependent upon computational power. The Wackett laboratory strives to answer important biological questions while utilizing the benefits of cross-sectional research at this intersection. They have a number of projects using the computational abilities at MSI.

  • Data mining of genomes for new functionalities. To determine function and relatedness to other experimentally determined proteins, the researchers utilize sequence alignment programs like clustalw, phylogenetic programs like phylip, and structure analysis programs like Schrodinger and Discovery Studios. This computational work allows the researchers to make hypotheses that they can further investigate in the laboratory via detailed biochemical analysis.
  • Answering questions about enzyme mechanisms and substrate binding. This research uses protein crystallization. Solving crystallographic coordinates and visualizing solved structures requires additional computational resources.
  • Structural comparison and substrate docking experiments.
  • Docking experiments. One new project in this area involves modeling protein mutants with varying substrate specificity to allow for a larger substrates to facilitate mechanistic studies. Another new project involves determining which substances in tracking fluids have the potential to dock into biodegradative enzyme active sites. This project will use large-scale docking methods for analysis and target determinations. 

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