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Elucidation and Engineering of the Protein-Protein Interactions in Carrier Protein Dependent Pathways


Protein-protein interactions are a fundamental principle of biochemistry and nature itself. This class of interactions span well understood principles such as electrostatic or Van der Waals interactions to complicated principles of protein dynamics and allostery. In this work I have applied my knowledge of these principles to a system I felt was perfect for a detailed characterization. Fatty acid biosynthesis is a simple system at a distance, with proteins whose function has been known for decades and relatively simple chemistries. However, this shallow observation betrays the subtle complications of the system. In reality, fatty acids are created through an elegant choreography of protein-protein interactions. With the central player, the acyl carrier protein, acting as messenger throughout. Like the cycle it is central to, the ACP is a simple protein at only 4 helices and under 100 amino acids. But in these studies, we have uncovered how such a small protein is able to facilitate this elegant system.

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