EPFL BioE Talks SERIES "Principles of Protein Assembly in Cells"


Event details

Date 11.10.2021
Hour 16:0017:00
Speaker Prof. Emmanuel Levy, Department of Chemical and Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot (IL)
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English

Life processes involve an intricate choreography between tens of millions of protein building blocks that form the infrastructure of cells. Recent technological advances have revealed the catalogs of proteins present in various cells and organisms. However, understanding how these protein building-blocks assemble and work together is an extraordinarily complex task. I will present our work aimed at addressing this challenge. First, I will describe how stickiness, defined as the chemical propensity of protein surfaces to bind to each other, is tuned across entire proteomes to minimize promiscuous interactions. Second, I will show that even single point-mutations changing the surface stickiness of homo-oligomeric proteins can trigger their infinite folded-state self-assembly. Finally, I will describe the design of synthetic protein condensates with tractable and tunable phase behavior; and work-in-progress, on how we are using these condensates to identify genes globally regulating macromolecular self-assembly in cells.

Emmanuel Levy is a biologist integrating computational and experimental work to solve nature’s riddles. His research concentrates on the principles of protein assembly. His notable contributions include the determination of physiologically relevant assembly states for proteins of known structure, the discovery of protein surface hot-spots, where mutations readily trigger new assemblages, and the characterization of negative design principles safeguarding proteins against mis-assembly. Levy did his undergraduate studies in France. He received his Ph.D. in 2008 from Cambridge University, UK, working at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology with Dr. Sarah Teichmann. For his post-doctoral research, he joined the group of Prof. Stephen Michnick at the University of Montreal, Canada. Since 2012, he joined the Department of Chemical and Structural Biology at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, where he is now an Associate Professor. Levy was awarded the Blavatnick Award in Chemistry (2020), the Wolf Foundation’s Krill Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research (2018), the HFSP Career Development Award (2015), and the Marie Curie Career Integration Award (2012).

As a consequence of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, in-person attendance of this seminar is subjected to some constraints:
  • Maximum number of participants is limited to 80 (2/3 of room SV1717's nominal capacity): first come, first served!
  • Valid COVID certificate and ID, required to enter the meeting room, will be checked at the entrance
  • Face masks are mandatory for everyone in the seminar room (excepted the speaker while presenting).
Thank you warmly for your understanding!

Alternatively, the seminar can also be followed via Zoom web-streaming:
Zoom link (with one-time registration for the whole series) for attending remotely: https://go.epfl.ch/EPFLBioETalks

Instructions for 1st-year Ph.D. students who are under EDBB’s mandatory seminar attendance rule:
IF you are not attending in-person in the room, please make sure to
  1. send D. Reinhard a note before noon on seminar day, informing that you plan to attend the talk online, and
  2. be signed in on Zoom with a recognizable user name (not a pseudonym making it difficult or impossible to be identified).
Students attending the seminar in-person should collect a confirmation signature after the talk - please print your own signature sheet beforehand (71 kB pdf available for download here).

Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Registration required