Physics Colloquium - Friday, April 7th, 2006, 4:00 P.M.

E300 Math/Science Center; Refreshments at 3:30 P.M. in Room E200

Paolo De Los Rios
Laboratoire de Biophysique Statistique, Lausanne

Harnessing entropy to translocate proteins across membranes

Heat Shock Proteins 70 kDa (Hsp70) are multifunctional proteins that play a central role in the transport of proteins across cell membranes (e.g. the endoplasmic reticulum and the mitochondrial double membrane) and in the solubilization of protein aggregates. After a review of the basic biology and biochemistry of Hsp70s, and of current models for its functional mechanism, I will show how simple arguments from the statistical physics of polymers can provide a unified picture for the different cellular functions of Hsp70, and resolve current debates.