03/26/19 - 9:45 AM to 10:45 AM
Student Seminar Series: Professor Christina Woo
Student Seminar Series
The chemistry of binding site hotspot mapping by photo-affinity labeling
All biological processes are governed by chemical signals relayed through protein networks. These small molecule signals can inhibit, enhance, or impart new functions to proteins through direct associations to allosteric regulatory hotspots on a protein that drive alteration of the broader proteomic network. To discover allosteric hotspots in the global proteome, we are probing sugar-based modification sites in nature’s endogenous chemical communication network for comparison to exogenous small molecule–protein interactions. To map the global molecular associations between a small molecule and its targets, we developed a chemical proteomics platform termed small molecule interactome mapping by photo-affinity labeling (SIM-PAL). SIM-PAL uses a small molecule carrying a photo-affinity label to capture molecular interactions within the global proteome for analysis by mass spectrometry. The application of SIM-PAL to bioactive small molecules and the structural implications of binding site hotspots from photo-affinity labeling chemistry will be described.
Christina M. Woo is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Wellesley College, and her doctorate from Yale University. She was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Stanford University, where she developed a mass-independent chemical glycoproteomics platform for the identification of non-templated post-translational modifications. She has been recognized by the Sloan Research Foundation, International Chemical Biology Society Young Chemical Biologist Award, the National Institutes of Health DP1 Avenir Award, and Ono Pharma Foundation Breakthrough Science Award.
Woo’s research focuses on how exogenous and endogenous small molecules influence protein function. Projects in her research group bridge chemistry and biology to reveal how small molecules influence proteins and human health. Current projects include developing approaches that combine chemical biology and mass spectrometry to reveal how small molecules interact with the proteome; building new tools to probe and engineer cellular pathways that use small molecules, like glycans, to modify proteins during immunoactivation; accessing unique chemical scaffolds to evaluate the regulation of protein interactions by novel mechanisms.