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New Biophysical and Genetic Techniques for Advanced Material Development

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Final rept. 1 Jul 1992-30 Jun 1999

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Biomembranes are involved in some of the most basic cellular processes. These include ion transport, energy transduction, nerve transmission, sensory detection and cellular communication. The design of a new class of materials based on biomembrane components holds promise in diverse areas including optical recording media, chemical sensors, nanometer lithography, energy transducers and enzyme catalysis. However, future progress in these areas will depend on the development of new methods for elucidating the molecular basis for biomembrane function, self-assembly into higher order structures and modifying membrane components for biomaterial applications. In this project, we proposed to address these problems by developing powerful new methods based on molecular genetics and advanced biophysical techniques which have the capability to modify and characterize biomembranes on a molecular level. Key among these techniques will be site directed non-native amino acid replacement SNAAR along with the related technique of site directed isotope labeling SDIL. These approaches when combined with FTIR spectroscopy will provide a powerful method for determining the role of individual amino acid residues in the functioning of a protein and in self-assembly as well as providing a new dimension in protein engineering, enabling the replacement of native amino acid residues with custom designed residues.

Subject Categories:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Isotopes

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