College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Unique properties of omega-3 fatty acids: implications for rhodopsin function

September 23, Tue 2008
11:00 am, MRB 200 Conference Room

Dr. Scott Feller

Department of Chemistry, Wabash College,

The structure and dynamics of polyunsaturated lipids, specifically those containing docosahexaenoic and docosapentanoic acid, will be described and compared with saturated and mono-unsaturated lipids. Comparison will be made between the simulation results and experimental measurements utilizing NMR and x-ray diffraction. Both simulation and experiment suggest the polyunsaturated fatty acid chains possess an extreme flexibility. The role of the torsional energy profile for rotation about single bonds between vinyl groups will be emphasized as the key factor in these observations. A mechanism by which this flexibility allows unique interactions with integral membrane proteins will be demonstrated.

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