Jefferson, Robert E.

Robert is a first year trainee and is in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  His research mentor is Dr. James Bowie.  He received a B.A. degree in 2008 from Whitman College.

Mentor: Dr. James Bowie

Research project:

The rules governing membrane protein stability are much less well understood than those for soluble proteins.  Stability studies of the membrane-embedded enzyme diacylglycerol kinase done by our lab suggest that the trimeric protein has an unusually high kinetic stability.  To investigate the kinetics of subunit exchange, I am testing mixing of two tagged populations of trimers by co-immunoprecipitation, a method that could conceivably be applied to a variety of oligomeric membrane proteins.  One of the obstacles to designing a stable membrane protein is the lack of high-throughput screening techniques for stable mutants.  I am developing a protease assay to screen for stable membrane protein mutants, which could be used as crystallization candidates and could provide important clues about what forces stabilize membrane proteins.