Shining lights on the cell

The cellular machinery is a remarkable system capable of regulating myriad life processes with exquisite specificity by responding to a wide variety of environmental stimuli. This essential regulation is achieved through a network of highly dynamic signaling molecules that are both spatially and temporally regulated.

Inspired by nature’s fluorescent proteins and photosensors, biochemists have made tremendous strides in developing new classes of genetically encoded protein tools to detect and control signaling activities with high spatiotemporal precision. With these new tools, new types of biochemistry, biology, and cell biology are regularly discovered.

For the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting, Discover BMB, in Seattle in March, we have assembled symposia with some of the top experts in these diverse fields who will discuss new tools for manipulating and visualizing the activity of enzymes and other classes of Protein activity in living cells across a range of settings. As an example of the impact of these tools, we will highlight the emerging field of liquid-liquid phase separation as an organizing principle of cell signaling, clearly identified by advances in our ability to probe and control biomolecules in vitro and in cells.

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keywords: optogenetics, fluorescent biosensors, protein engineering, phase separation.

Who should attend: Biochemists, cell biologists, and protein engineers interested in novel protein-based tools for monitoring and controlling cell behavior, and new concepts of cell organization that have arisen from the use of these reagents.

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theme song: “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd.

This session is powered by high quality photons – from UV to infrared.


Native biochemistry toolkit: sensors, actuators, and computational tools

Kevin H. Gardner (Chair), Scientific Research Center of the City University of New York

Claus Hahn, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Sabrina Spencer, University of Colorado Boulder

David Van Valen, California Institute of Technology

Spatiotemporal control of cellular signaling

Jin Zhang (Chair), University of California, San Diego

Markus von Zastrow, University of California, San Francisco

Lukasz Bugaj, University of Pennsylvania

Anton Bennett, Yale University

Liquid-liquid phase separation as a signal paradigm

Christine Mayr (Chair), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Zhijian “James” Chen, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Sarah Veatch, University of Michigan

Shana Elbaum-Garfinkle, Scientific Research Center of the City University of New York

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