University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Biophysics Seminar

Thursday, February 28th 2019
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in 120 PAN
Speaker: Paul Jardine, Associate Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences, UMN
Subject: Using Model Systems to Drive Methods Development – The Tale of a Viral RNA

Model systems serve a critical role in the development of new research methodologies. By their nature, model systems are well defined and therefore present excellent opportunities to extend the resolution, range of application, and rigour of advanced biochemical and biophysical experimental techniques. Given that they are, by definition, some of the simplest living systems, viral model systems have been used to advance all areas of molecular biology and biophysics. Here, I will summarise the experimental history of one small component of a viral force generator nanomotor – the prohead RNA (pRNA) component of the bacteriophage phi29 DNA packaging machine – and illustrate how the study of this molecule has revealed fundamental insight into biological macromolecules. The study of pRNA has contributed to the development of experimental approaches that can be adapted to more complex systems in order to address more complex questions in biological systems.

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