SMB Guest Seminar - Dr Thomas Shafee - 22 January 2018

Start: Jan 22, 2018 01:00 PM
End: Jan 22, 2018 02:00 PM


Title: Convergent evolution, evolvability and quantitative maps of sequence space - studying the early evolution of defensin proteins
Speaker: Dr Thomas Shafee - La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, Melbourne (research profile)
Host: Dr Vitor Bernardes Pinheiro (email)
Venue: Darwin Building B05 (map)
Abstract: The defensins are small, disulphide-rich proteins found across cellular life with roles including host defence, signalling, and venom toxicity. Unfortunately, their extreme sequence divergence, short length, frequent insertions and deletions, and repetitive sequence cause traditional methods of sequence analysis to fail, obscuring their evolution, hampering their classification and engineering. Insights into the unusual evolution of defensins is now possible using new alignment methods, similarity networks, and quantitative sequence space maps.
This work has shown that the defensins actually consist of two independent superfamilies that have independently converged upon remarkably similar sequence, structure, function and mechanism. Quantitative sequence space maps have shed light on the some of the superfamilies’ hey evolution events, including those that occurred at their de novo birth.