Featuring expert speakers from Instruct Centres across Europe, Instruct-ERIC Webinar Series: Structure Meets Function highlights some of the latest developments in structural biology, demonstrating how integrative methods are enabling scientists to decipher the mechanisms that underpin health and disease.
Watch the previous webinars in the series here.
The eight webinar in the series will be hosted by Instruct Centre EMBL, on 16 March 2021, 11:00 - 12:30 CET.
Webinar moderator: Stephen Cusack, EMBL Grenoble
Talk 1: In-situ structural analysis of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein using subtomogram averaging and molecular dynamics
Speaker: Beata Turonova
Affiliation: EMBL Heidelberg
Abstract: The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S) enables viral entry into host cells and is thus the primary focus for vaccine development. Using cryo-electron tomography in combination with subtomogram averaging we can not only structurally analyze S in situ, but also quantify its abundance and distribution on viral surfaces. Furthermore, we are able to gain a better understanding of its highly flexible stalk by incorporating additional information from molecular dynamics simulations into our processing routine.
Talk 2: Structural analysis of COVID-19-related molecules at EMBL Hamburg
Speaker: Dmitri Svergun
Affiliation: EMBL Hamburg
Abstract: EMBL, Hamburg Unit, provides access to a modern sample preparation and characterization facility and to high brilliance synchrotron beamlines for structural analysis. These facilities were used in several projects to elucidate structures of proteins and complexes relevant for combating the COVID-19 plague. EMBL crystallography beamlines participated in a massive screening of two repurposing drug libraries against the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro). On the small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) beamline, a rapid screening of neutralising antibodies to identify those binding to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was performed. A combination of SAXS with mass-spectroscopy provided insights into the organization of coronaviral non-structural proteins nsp7 and nsp8.
Further, three projects were conducted with participation of BioNTech company to analyze lipid nanoparticles for fine-tuning of tailored mRNA delivery systems and improve the formulation development for future vaccines.
Talk 3: Online crystallography: Automated pipelines for protein crystallography and drug design.
Speaker: Jose A. Marquez
Affiliation: EMBL Grenoble
Abstract: The combination of the CrystalDirect technology for sample preparation with automated diffraction data collection at ESRF MASSIF1 and other synchrotron beam lines enables the operation of high throughput protein-to-structure pipelines integrating crystal screening and optimization, crystal soaking harvesting and cryo-cooling and X-ray diffraction data collection into a continuous and fully automated workflow. This approach accelerates, de novo structural analysis, large scale fragment screening and drug design applications. Examples from selected user projects as well as future developments through the MASSIF1 upgrade project will be presented.