Macromolecular crowding: a physicist's perspective on understanding molecular motions in the complex environment of a living cell

May 02, 2019 - 16 h 00

Hôtel Dupanloup
1 rue Dupanloup
45000 Orléans


Inside a living cell, approximately 30 - 40% of the available volume is occupied by large ("macro") molecules, as well as cytoskeletal fibres and organelles. There are many types of these macro-molecules and they can be extended in form (e.g. nucleic acids) or globular (e.g. proteins). This crowded environment can affect the shape and the motions of a given macromolecule, such as a protein, profoundly.

It is amazing that all the biochemical reactions that are necessary for the proper functioning of a cell occur within a confined and crowded cellular environment. In this talk, I will introduce the physicist's point of view of macromolecular crowding, starting with very simple systems and building complexity step-by-step from the bottom up.

Life itself is represented by processes that are intrinsically out of equilibrium and consume energy. How does being out of equilibrium contribute to macromolecular dynamics in a crowded environment? I will end with a brief preview of recent work begun last year to drive a crowded system out of equilibrium.


LE STUDIUM Guest Research Fellow

Prof. Anand Yethiraj

FROM: Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, University of Newfoundland - CA

IN RESIDENCE AT: Molecular Biophysics Center (CBM) / CNRS - FR

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