Experts on iron-sulfur proteins to meet in Madison, Wisconsin


Bethesda, MD Approximately 150 researchers from around the world will gather at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a four-day symposium on a unique class of proteins known as the Iron-Sulfur (Fe-S) Proteins. The symposium, titled "Fe-S Proteins: Biogenesis, Structure and Function," runs from May 19 to 22.

"Fe-S cluster-containing proteins are nearly ubiquitous in nature and are required for many fundamental cellular processes," explains symposium organizer Dr. Elizabeth A. Craig. "As metal centers, Fe-S clusters play a key role in electron transfer or catalysis of reactions that are at the core of metabolism. Fe-S proteins are, in addition, represented within specialized pathways such as photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. Fe-S cluster proteins also play critical sensing roles as regulators of gene expression."

Despite the importance of Fe-S proteins, the mechanism by which the Fe-S clusters are synthesized and inserted into proteins is poorly understood. However, this is changing. In the last several years proteins have been discovered that function in the biogenesis of Fe-S clusters.

Dr. Craig and the other organizers hope that the four-day symposium will further increase the understanding of how Fe-S clusters are synthesized and inserted into proteins. As well, the 20 symposium speakers will also focus on the role of Fe-S proteins in oxidative stress and disease, novel functions of Fe-S clusters, and the structure of these metal clusters within proteins.

"There is no other meeting that focuses on the role of Fe-S proteins and their biogenesis," notes Dr. Craig. "Importantly, this field is cross-disciplinary by nature and this meeting will bring together biologists and physical scientists to study these important problems. (We hope) to bring this broad field together and exchange ideas, since the physical and biological scientists who work on these proteins have few opportunities to meet."

The symposium is part of the Steenbock Symposium series at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Harry Steenbock (1886-1967) was a distinguished Professor of Biochemistry at the University whose interests and contributions spanned many areas of nutrition and biochemistry. He patented the irradiation process for producing vitamin D and conceived the idea of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, a nonprofit foundation which invests the proceeds from patents for support of research in the natural sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To honor Professor Steenbock, the Steenbock Endowment sponsors a research symposium each year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This particular symposium is supported in part by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with 12,000 members worldwide. Founded in 1906, the Society is based in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The Society's primary purpose is to advance the sciences of biochemistry and molecular biology through its publications, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Lipid Research, Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, and the holding of scientific meetings.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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