Course summary

FEBS Advanced Course: Ligand-binding Theory and Practice

June 29 – July 6, 2014

This course will provide basic training in the principles of ligand-binding theory, and will offer participants a chance to analyse their own macromolecular interaction systems using the contemporary advanced methods (SPR, ITC UV-vis, fluorescence spectroscopies, gel filtration), guided by lecturers and tutors who are expert in the design, execution, and analysis of these experiments. Additional lecturers will present other contemporary experimental ligand-binding methods (NMR, MS) and contemporary thinking on the phenomenon of allostery.

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Course Organizers: Rudiger Ettrich, Jannette Carey, Wei-Feng Xue
Contact: febs_lbtp2014@nh.cas.cz
Academy and University Center Nove Hrady, Czech Republic

Application deadline: 30th April 2014
( If you find out about the course after the deadline, please send us an email.
Due to a possible and unexpected cancelation, we may have a place available).

 


Detailed description

This course will provide basic training in the principles of ligand-binding theory, and will offer students a chance to analyse their own macromolecular interaction systems using the contemporary advanced methods of surface plasmon resonance SPR, isothermal titration calorimetry ITC, UV-vis and fluorescence spectroscopies, and gel filtration, guided by lecturers and tutors who are expert in the design, execution, and analysis of these experiments. Students will also gain exposure to contemporary experimental ligand-binding methods that are not represented among the practicals, including NMR, mass spectrometry, and others, through presentations by lecturers who are expert in each method. Additional lecturers will present contemporary thinking on the phenomenon of allostery, one of the most important biological manifestations of ligand binding. The course is aimed for practitioners of ligand binding at the graduate or early postdoctoral level, although our experience suggests that even more advanced practitioners, such as the speakers and tutors themselves, will also increase their competency, enabling them to promote a more accurate understanding of this critical topic at their home institutions and through their published work.
A basic training in the fundaments of ligand-binding theory will open the course, to enable all students to acquire the principles that can support their experiments and leverage the subsequent lecture program of expert speakers. This training will also provide students with the skills to critically evaluate published binding data in any molecular system. The first half-day will include lecture, group discussion, and problem-solving exercises in a first seminar, directed by Prof. Carey, and computational analysis, simulation, and data-fitting in a second seminar, directed by Dr. Wei-Feng Xue. Students will be assigned to experimental groups by the organizers, who will work closely in advance with the selected applicants to prioritize the practicals that are most likely to yield usable data for each system under study. The course will conclude with global analysis of each student’s ligand-binding results in a third seminar, directed by Dr. Wei-Feng Xue.
Students will also gain exposure to contemporary experimental ligand-binding methods that are not represented among the practicals, including NMR, mass spectrometry, vibrational spectroscopies, and other approaches, through presentations by lecturers who are expert in each method. Besides ligand binding per se, a second unifying theme of the lectures will be allostery, also known as cooperativity. Nobelist Jacques Monod is said to have regarded allostery as life’s second secret, and study of allosteric mechanisms is widely regarded as the most important contemporary application of ligand-binding studies. Among the lecturers on allostery will be experts who will debate our current understanding of hemoglobin, the most well-known and medically significant example of allostery.
All accepted students will be advised to bring posters that introduce their research project, illustrate the role of ligand-binding studies in their project and explain why the methods of this course are expected to be useful for their work. Posters will be presented by the students during the opening-night welcome reception to enable all participants to become acquainted with all students’ work. The organizing committee assisted by selected speakers will evaluate the posters by the end of the first evening. These evaluators will choose approximately one-third of the students to present their work to the entire group of students, speakers, and tutors in fifteen-minute talks during three successive morning lecture sessions; poster speakers will be announced at the welcome introduction on Monday morning. Posters will remain available all week in the social hall to stimulate discussion among all participants. Students will also present the results of their experiments in this course in a final morning session, with 10-minute talks each so that at least half the students can present. We will ensure that students who were not chosen for poster talks are selected for the final presentations, so that all participants will have a chance to practice their presentation skills.