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CCeMMP Seminar Series – A/Prof Michael Landsberg – Nov 2022

Using cryo-EM to study the structure, function and evolution of an emerging bacterial toxin family

Pore-forming proteins are remarkably versatile molecular platforms that have evolved to fulfil essential yet diverse roles in microbes, plants and animals, and which have been successfully exploited and repurposed by humankind to drive new biomedical and biotechnological applications. Research in the Landsberg group over the past decade has focused on elucidating the structure and function of a recently emerged family of bacterial pore-forming proteins – ABC toxins – which offer the potential to be deployed as either selective or broad-spectrum biopesticides, or engineered for use as customised inter-cellular protein delivery devices. In this seminar, results will be presented from the group’s ongoing research into a member of this pore-forming protein family that has an unusual molecular architecture. Specifically, how this toxin is unique, what functional advantages this imparts, and how it has come to evolve. His most recent research has been supported by the use of the JEOL Cryo-ARM platform for automated, high-throughput and high resolution cryo-EM. In the second part of the talk, he will discuss aspects of the journey to install two new and largely unproven electron microscopes in the middle of a global pandemic.

A/Prof Michael Landsberg

Group Leader & Associate Professor of Structural Biology & Biophysics, School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland