AVB Postdoctoral Program: Representative Example of Postdoctoral Training in Structural Biology
Structure of LCAT, lipid-associated apoE, intact Lp[a]
Preceptor: Dr. Henry Pownall or Joel Morrisett, in collaboration with Dr. Wah Chiu
Many of the lipid metabolizing enzymes and apoproteins, and none of the intact lipoproteins are amenable to traditional crystallization techniques. However, new and innovative techniques of electron crystallography make it possible to obtain structural information on these proteins.
Trainees in this area attend the weekly seminar series in the AVB Program as well as biweekly seminars in the Structural and Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics program. Trainees are instructed in the following:
- Isolation and purification of the protein or lipoprotein of interest.
- Formation of two-dimensional crystals using monolayer techniques or in cryo-preservation of single particles such as intact lipoproteins or model lipoproteins.
- Electron diffraction data processing including collection of data (electron microscopy), processing, and evaluation. Training in image processing includes selection of the crystal image, digitization of the image, transformation of the image into reciprocal space (Fourier transform), crystal lattice refinement and correction for distortion.
- Merging image and diffraction data to yield a 3-D image. Postdoctoral fellows in this area may choose to audit Macromolecular Design 453 (Baylor), Computational Science 420 (Rice), and/or Mathematics and Modeling 409 (Baylor).
Trainees are encouraged to maintain close ties with a preceptor in the Division of Atherosclerosis and Lipoprotein Research so that structural data can be interpreted in terms of protein function