Multimodal Protein Structure
Prof. Chris Bailey-Kellogg
How is oxygen carried around in blood, how are invaders recognized by cells, and how is food digested? Answers to these and other questions about the molecular machinery of the cell (and potentially how to modify it) center on analysis of three-dimensional protein structures. We are embedding computation as a core component of structural studies, planning experiments to maximize the information gained, interpreting the results so as to characterize remaining uncertainty, and iterating. For example, reasoning by analogy to other proteins, we can predict possible models for a new protein (see figure). Then we can analyze their differences (e.g., distances between landmarks, overall envelopes, surface vs. core locations) and optimize experimental probes for these differences, employing "multimodal" sets of probes to overcome the noise and sparsity characteristics of any individual experimental type.