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Bioengineering Graduate Seminar Series - Dr. Jose Manuel Sanchez-Ruiz

February 19, 2019 - 12:00pm

Spring 2019 | Bioengineering Graduate Seminar Series

“Biotechnological Applications of Resurrected Ancestral Proteins”

Dr. Jose Manuel Sanchez-Ruiz | University of Granada, Spain

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm




Plausible approximations to the sequences of ancestral proteins can be derived from the sequences of their modern descendants using modern bioinformatic analysis. The proteins encoded by these inferred ancestral reconstructed sequences can be prepared in the laboratory and subjected to experimental scrutiny. Besides their use over the last ~25 years as molecular tools to investigate important evolutionary questions, more recent work hints at the biotechnological potential of such “resurrected” ancestral proteins. Ancestral proteins certainly differ from their modern counterparts in terms of sequence. This is particularly the case when “old” phylogenetic nodes are targeted. Indeed, reconstructed sequenced of Precambrian proteins often show large numbers of amino acid differences with their modern descendants. More relevant, however, is the fact that ancestral proteins were adapted to the intra-cellular and extra-cellular environments existing at their time, which likely depart from the environments of modern proteins. As a result, resurrected ancestral proteins could be expected display “unusual” properties. Experimental and computational work has specifically discussed high stability, substrate and catalytic promiscuity, conformational flexibility/diversity and altered patterns of interaction with other sub-cellular components. I will summarize and discuss this recent work, as well as very recent attempts to explore the biotechnological and, more specifically, protein-engineering applications of resurrected ancestral proteins.

For additional info, contact Prof. Victor Muñoz,