Network Activities:

Some of the past and planned activities of the Network are:

April 19-20, 2017

We ran a workshop planning future activities of the Network and discussing the current research projects of a number of attendees from both local laboratories and three visiting Indian colleagues, Prof. Amit Chattopadhyay from CCMB, Prof. Sudipta Maiti from TIFR, Mumbai, and A/Prof. Samrat Mukhopadhyay from IISER Mohali.

November, 2016

Prof. Amitabha Chattopadhyay visited UoM

November, 2016

Varsha Thombare from Craig Hutton’s group visited Hyderabad and Pune.

August-September, 2016

CCMB PhD student Sreetama Pal visited UoM

May-June, 2016:

CCMB PhD student Parijat Sardar visits UoM

March, 2016:

UoM PhD students Hamid Soleimaninejad and Matthew Burton visited CCMB

Trevor Smith visited CCMB, and Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India, where discussions with Profs. P. K. Madhu and Sudipta Maiti regarding extending the Network were held.

November, 2015:

A round table meeting to discuss Network aims, collaborative possibilities and facilities was held in Graduate House, The University of Melbourne on 20th November, 2015.  This was attended by Prof. Amitabha Chattopadhyay (Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad), Prof. David Millar (Department of Integrative Structural & Computational Biology, The Scripps Research Institute), Dr. Andrew Rapson, Dr. Marc-Antoine Sani, Mr. Matthew Burton and Mr. Hamid Soleimaninejad.

Summary of presentations:

Prof. Chattopadhyay presented a thoughtful overview of the current challenges and major scientific questions in the field of biological membrane research. This presentation established the overall theme of the workshop and provided an excellent framework for the other speaker’s presentations. Prof. Chattopadhyay also provided an overview of the research activities of his group at the CCMB institute.

Dr. Marc-Antoine Sani described solid-state NMR studies of the antimicrobial peptide maculin and it’s interaction with model membranes. Several NMR spectroscopic approaches were described, each providing information on different aspects of peptide conformation and peptide-lipid interactions.

Mr. Hamid Soleimaninejad described the principles of time-resolved evanescent wave-induced fluorescence measurements of membrane systems. This new technique provides detailed information on the dynamics of peptide motions, both within the plane of the membrane and also out of the plane, thereby providing much more information than other fluorescence-based methods.

Mr. Andrew Rapson presented a comprehensive study of the interactions of a lytic peptide with supported lipid bilayers using surface-selective techniques. This presentation illustrated the benefits of integrating information from various complementary experimental approaches, including circular dichroism spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy and quartz microbalance acoustic measurements. The resulting information has provided new insights into the mode of interaction of a lytic peptide with model membranes.

Mr. Matthew Burton described efforts to directly visualize lytic peptides as they attacked cell-wall-deficient bacteria. Using super resolution microscopy, Mr. Burton presented impressive images of a fluorescently tagged peptide attached to the surface of individual bacterial cells.

Ms. Sreetama Pal described fluorescence-based studies of the gramicidin peptide interacting with model membranes. This presentation illustrated how the oligomeric state of a membrane-bound peptide can be established by analysis of fluorescence depolarization resulting from excitation energy transfer among identical molecules (the so called homo-FRET phenomenon).

Mr. Parijat Sarkar’s presentation focused on the role of membrane cholesterol and the actin cytoskeleton in regulation of cell function. This was the most biologically focused presentation and nicely complemented the more biophysical analyses described above.

Prof. David Millar described the use of single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy for the study of integral membrane proteins, focusing on a G protein-coupled receptor. He also outlined a number of suggestions for how the specific single-molecule spectroscopic techniques could be adapted for the study of lytic peptide-membrane interactions.

This workshop coincided with the visits of Prof. Chattopadhyay and two CCMB PhD students, Sreetama Pal and Parijat Sarkar, to UoM to investigate what facilities are available and plan future collaborative research programs.