Structural Biology Interest Group

Welcome to the homepage for the MSU Structural Biology Interest Group (SBIG)! This page contains information about our current meeting schedule and locations. Everyone is welcome at the meetings, but if you would like to receive emails, or if you would like to be included in the presentation schedule, please contact Dr. Fitzkee at nfitzkee @ (remove spaces).

Currently, SBIG meets at noon on the second Wednesday of each month in the chemistry conference room, Hand Lab 1135 (click here for a map). Occasionally, we meet elsewhere, so please double-check the announcements below for more details.

SBIG Meeting - 7/15 (Free Pizza)

Our next Structural Biology Interest Group meeting will be this Wednesday, July 15th at noon (12:00 PM) in the Chemistry Conference Room (HL 1135). As a mid-summer treat, we'll have pizza this and soda this week. The speakers are:

  • Dinesh Yadav (Fitzkee Lab, Chemistry) - Dinesh will present on his recent research into the NMR assignments of the calcineurin regulatory domain.
  • Sri Ramya Tata (Fitzkee Lab, Chemistry) - Ramya's presentation will focus on protein LC/MS in the Chemistry department and how to use the available instrumentation effectively.

As with last month, please feel free to invite new graduate or undergraduate students if you think they may be interested. I hope to see you there!


SBIG Meeting - 6/10

The next meeting of the Structural Biology Interest Group will take place at noon on Wednesday, June 10 in the Chemistry Conference Room (HL 1135). Our speakers will be:

  • Dr. Alan Zhao (PI, CVM) - "Understanding influenza A virus binding glycans: Computational identification of receptor glycan motifs and mutation effects on virus-glycan interactions." We don't normally ask for abstracts for SBIG talks, but Dr. Zhao graciously provided one, and it is included below.
  • Mandi Metz (Lewis Lab, Chemistry) - "Loop Sequence Context Influences the Formation and Stability of the I-Motif for DNA Oligomers of Sequence (CCCXXX)4, where X=A and/or T, under Slightly Acidic Conditions"

Summer has officially begun, so if you have new researchers or undergraduates working in your lab, feel free to invite them if you think they may be interested. See you Wednesday!

Dr. Zhao's Abstract

Influenza A viruses (IAVs) infect various hosts through the recognition of glycans on host cells, the receptors, of which the structures have been shown to be unique in animal hosts and even within different tissues in the same host. On the receptor side, the functional substructures of glycan, so called glycan motifs, are responsible for the function or recognition of the carrier glycoconjugate and modulate these processes. Meanwhile, on the virus side, hemagglutinin (HA) is known to have high mutation frequencies that could be associated with viral host adaptations and virulence. Specific amino acid mutations on HAs of various viruses lead to significant modifications of their host receptor recognitions, which are initiated by diverse binding abilities to distinct glycans with different terminal saccharides. However, researchers almost have no clue of, first, the relationships between glycans, especially their substructure motifs, and IAVs with different host origins; second, how a given site mutation on HA affects its binding to host glycan receptors. Targeting these challenges, we developed a series of computational methodologies based on sparse learning, association mining, discrete molecular dynamics, and molecular modeling to take advantage of the information supplied by glycan microarrays and 3D structures of HA-glycan interaction complexes. On one hand, results illustrated that a few non-acidic acids (e.g. β-linked Gal and GlcNAc), and Mannose enriched terminals, in addition to the well-known α2,3- and α2,6-linked sialic acid, were identified as potential glycan motifs for IAV binding. On the other hand, our dynamic simulation strategy on a case study of HA-glycan complexes was able to calculate the converting effect of mutations that modified the HA’s receptor binding behavior. These studies shed some lights on molecular mechanisms for IAV host tropisms.


SBIG Meeting - 5/13

The Structural Biology Interest Group will meet this Wednesday (5/13) at noon in the Hand Lab Conference Room (HL 1135). Our speakers and topics for this month are:

  • Clint Mikek (Lewis Lab) - Clint will present an update on his research, entitled, "The History of DHX36 Gene Product G4R1."
  • Karen Woods (Fitzkee Lab) - Karen will present a journal club based on the article entitled "An infrequent molecular ruler controls flagellar hook length in Salmonella enterica." You can find a link to the full text here.
  • No pizza this month, so remember to pack a lunch. We'll do pizza for next month's meeting in June.

    Finally, remember that we're hosting Biochemistry Boot Camp next month, June 1-3. There is still plenty of space, so please contact Dr. Fitzkee if you are interested!

    See you Wednesday!


Special Seminar - Dr. Richard Kriwacki

This Friday (4/17), the Department of Chemistry will host Dr. Richard Kriwacki for its departmental seminar. Dr. Kriwacki is a faculty member in the Department of Structural Biology at St. Jude's Children's Research Center, and his topic is of special interest to the SBIG community. The title of his talk will be "Diverse Roles for Disorder in Protein Function; From the Nano- to Meso-Scale."

Dr. Kriwacki's presentation is at 3:30 PM in Hand Lab, room 1144, and there will be a reception immediately preceding the talk at 3:00 PM in room 1135 (our normal meeting room). Details for the presentation, along with Dr. Kriwacki's abstract, are given in the link below:

Download Dr. Kriwacki's Abstract


SBIG Meeting - 4/8

Once again it's time for SBIG! As usual, we'll meet Wednesday (4/8) at noon in the Chemistry Conference room (Hand Lab 1135). Our presenters this week are:

  • Kayla McConnell (Lewis Lab) - Kayla will give a presentation on her master's thesis, entitled "DNA Quadruplexes With and Without Overhangs: A Spectroscopy and Calorimetric Study."
  • Lindsey Brown (Thornton Lab) - Lindsey will present a talk titled "Characterizing Protein-Ligand Interactions in Biological Systems."

There will not be pizza this week, so be sure to pack a lunch. See you Wednesday!



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