"Energy cascades in conformational changes of viral capsids"
Mathematical Soft Matter Unit (Fried Unit) would like to invite you to a Seminar by Prof. Paolo Cermelli from University of Torino, Italy.
Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Venue: C016, Level C, Lab1
Professor Paolo Cermelli
Department of Mathematics
University of Torino, Italy
Energy cascades in conformational changes of viral capsids
Viral capsids are very resistant protein complexes kept together by relatively weak interactions between the protein building blocks (even though the interaction with nucleic acid is important in many cases). Many viral capsids undergo conformational changes when the chemical environment changes, for instance to release the genome inside the cell. In this work we use a simplified mathematical model of the capsid to show how the cooperative behavior of the weak bonds can stabilize the structure, and how local fluctuations of the bond strength can destabilize it by triggering a cascade of energy-minimizing events. This supports the energy-cascade hypothesis formulated, for instance, for the maturation of HK97. We use the principle of large deviations for SDEs to explore the pathway through which conformational changes occur, and the stability threshold.