This Week's Discoveries | 5 June 2018
- Tuesday 5 June 2018
Niels Bohrweg 2
2333 CA Leiden
- De Sitterzaal
Identifying genetic defects in short-lived cells
Patrick van den Berg (LION)
Patrick is a PhD student in the Quantitative Single-Cell Biology lab of Stefan Semrau at LION.
The development of the embryo is a complicated process in which highly specialised cells are needed in very specific places. Before these cells are fully developed they undergo a critical process named differentiation. If any defective gene causes problems during this phase, these problems might persist in the developed cells even if the defective gene is no longer present. In order to identify this kind of scenario, we investigated the human embryonic kidney with single cell RNA sequencing. We identified 17 different cell types of varying degrees of maturity and combined our data with Genome-wide association studies to link short-lived cell types with kidney disease.
Catalysis by a rigid enzyme
Fredj Ben Bdira (LIC)
Fredj is a postdoc in the Macromolecular Chemistry group of Marcellus Ubbink at LIC. On 20 February 2018, he defended his PhD thesis: Understanding functional dynamics and conformational stability of β-glycosidases (supervisors Marcellus Ubbink and Jan Aerts).
Recent studies have shown that enzymes can be dynamic entities, sampling conformational states that are often relevant for catalytic activity. Nevertheless, in our work we present a peculiar example of an enzyme undergoing minimal structural changes, with a rigid protein matrix providing a frame for fast substrate binding followed by slow distortion to enable hydrolysis.