Elaine Liu

Solving the Structure of MB11 Bound Beta-Tubulin

My project seeks to solve the structure of the binding interaction between Mb11 and -tubulin in microtubules. Microtubules are dynamic cytoskeletal polymers essential to life, composed of tubulin subunits, heterodimers of – and -tubulin, which align longitudinally into linear protofilaments and assemble laterally into a cylinder, forming the microtubule. Mb11 is an antibody that has been found to bind specifically to tubulin in the GTP bound conformation. In contrast to GDP bound tubulin, GTP-bound tubulin is straighter and more stable. This difference allows for the specific recognition of the antibody at this site and I will investigate the nature of this conformational specificity. Using electron microscopy, I will obtain sub-nanometer resolution of this binding interaction. Achieving this three-dimensional structure will enable me to hypothesize about the interactions that give specificity for this antibody to GTP-tubulin on an atomic level.

Message to Sponsor

I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity to engage in research this summer. Through research, I have been opened up to the exciting world of unknowns and the constant developments that are being made to further our understanding of the physical and biological world around us. This summer, I look forward to being able to engage in full-time research that wouldn't be possible during the school year. I am excited to work through procedures from start to finish and experience the fruits of my labor.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Mentor: Eva Nogales, Molecular and Cell Biology