Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


Invited Speaker - Dr. Tsvi Tlusty

23 September 2014, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



MRC/Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology Seminar Room

"What is the Dimension of Molecular Recognition?"

When an enzyme binds to a substrate, many of its atoms move around to accommodate the bound substrate. Such large-scale conformational make molecular recognition appear as an inherently multidimensional problem, where each dimension corresponds to one degree of motion freedom. This raises several basic questions: What is the dimension of the molecular phenotype space? What is the structural resolution required to understand the function of biomolecules? What is the role of conformational changes?

We will discuss these questions in the context of molecular information processing systems. Our prime example will be the ribosome, which has to select the right tRNA among numerous competitors during translation. Simple analysis of the ribosome function suggests a generic mechanism of enhancing molecular recognition. It also suggests an intriguing answer to the questions raised above.