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Program facilitates collaboration across institutions

Research Achievements

Program facilitates collaboration across institutions

The IGERT program has also facilitated interdisciplinary collaboration across institutions. For example, PI Bruce and IGERT trainee Nguyen, collaborating with a Dr. Chen’s computational group from TN State Univ. (an HBCU), analyzed the charge distribution between 2 interacting proteins, Photosystem I (PSI) and Cytochrome c6 (cyt c6). These 2 proteins are involved in the electron transport chain of photosynthesis. This work attempted to accelerate the rate of electron transfer from cyt c6 to PSI, using a bioinformatic approach to find possible co-evolving pairwise interactions. In the evolutionary progression from primordial cyanobacteria to algae to higher plants, the interface between these proteins evolved "new" electrostatic interactions (acidic on cytochrome and basic on PSI) that promote an increase in affinity. Using a computational approach, we developed dynamic programming algorithms to efficiently compute an interacting score and predict interaction sites between 2 proteins.