RNA as a Linear Polymer, but a Branched Genome

Date Thursday November 12, 2015 at 4:00 PM
Location A2-342 MDCC, Moss Auditorium, Marion Davies Children's Clinic
Speaker William M. Gelbart, Ph.D., Professor, Department Chemistry & Biochemistry, UCLA
Sponsoring Dept UCLA Biomathematics
Abstract We learn in school that the genetic material of life is DNA. But the genome of most viruses is single-stranded (ss) RNA, as opposed to double-stranded (ds) DNA. And, even though ssRNA is strictly a linear polymer -- involving a chain of covalently-linked nucleotides -- it behaves effectively as a highly branched polymer, because of the large extent of self-complementarity (base-pairing between distant nucleotides along the chain). In my talk I discuss how we characterize and quantify the “branchedness” of long RNA molecules, and its role in determining the physical properties of virus-like particles and the infectivity of viruses.
Flyer William_Gelbart_20151112.pdf