Exploring the Dynamical Landscape of Biomolecular Systems by Pressure Perturbation
Since October 2013, the new research group FOR 1979 “Exploring the Dynamical Landscape of Biomolecular Systems by Pressure Perturbation” is funded with 2.4 million Euro by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for a period of three years. Nine subprojects are associated with FOR 1979, which are managed by twelve researchers located at the Universities of Dortmund, Bochum and Regensburg. FOR 1979 explores the effect of high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) on biomolecular systems. The focus is on a molecular level-based bottom-up description of pressure effects on solutions of biomolecules, and the use of pressure modulation to reveal important mechanistic information on fundamental biomolecular processes. Grounded on accurate reference investigations of small model systems at high pressure conditions, we are mapping the conformational and functional substates as well as intermolecular interactions and reactions of proteins by pressure modulation. Moreover, information will be gained on the structural, dynamical and functional properties of biomolecular systems under extreme environmental conditions, such as those encountered in the deep sea where pressures up to the 1 kbar (100 MPa) level are reached at low temperatures. In addition, technical applications of HHP, such as steering and controlling enzymatic reactions, are foreseen. These studies call for a broad repertoire of techniques, including SAXS and NMR, FT-IR, THz, and fluorescence spectroscopy as well as microscopic techniques, which are available in FOR 1979. Indispensable for a state-of-the-art molecular-level understanding are tight links between experiment and simulation. The computational spectrum of FOR 1979 includes ab initio, QM/MM and force field molecular dynamics as well as modern liquid-state statistical mechanics, to be used to study complementary solvational, dynamical and conformational properties of these systems upon compression.
Spokesman / contact person:
Prof. Dr. Roland Winter