Poster Prize Awarded at ISMB
At this year's meeting of the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology Conference (ISMB)/European Conference on Computational Biology, the award went to Aya Narunsky for How proteins evolved to recognize an ancient nucleotide.
How proteins evolved to recognize an ancient nucleotide? Aya Narunsky (Yale University), Amit Kessel (Tel-Aviv University), Ron Solan (Tel Aviv University), Vikram Alva (Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology), Rachel Kolodny (University of Haifa), and Nir Ben Tal (Tel-Aviv University)
Proteins’ interactions with ancient ligands may reveal how molecular recognition emerged and evolved. We explore how proteins recognize adenine: a planar rigid fragment found in the most common and ancient ligands. We have developed a computational pipeline that extracts protein–adenine complexes from the Protein Data Bank, structurally superimposes their adenine fragments, and detects the hydrogen bonds mediating the interaction. Our analysis extends the known motifs of protein–adenine interactions in the Watson–Crick edge of adenine and shows that all of adenine’s edges may contribute to molecular recognition. We further show that, on the proteins' side, binding is often mediated by specific amino acid segments (“themes”) that recur across different proteins, such that different proteins use the same themes when binding the same adenine-containing ligands. We identify numerous proteins that feature these themes and are thus likely to bind adenine-containing ligands. Our analysis suggests that adenine binding has emerged multiple times in evolution.
Abstract taken from: Narunsky, A., Kessel, A., Solan, R., Alva, V., Kolodny, R., & Ben-Tal, N. (2020). On the evolution of protein-adenine binding. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 117: 4701–4709. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1911349117
Many thanks to Steven Leard (ISMB) for his continued support. This year's prize was judged by RCSB PDB's Stephen K. Burley and Sebastian Bittrich.