Steric Constraints on Anthrax Toxin Translocation

Allen Kwong : Molecular and Cell Biology

Mentor: Professor Bryan Krantz, Molecular and Cell Biology and Chemistry

Although protein translocations across cellular membranes are vitally significant, the biophysical mechanisms underlying such processes remain obscure. Nevertheless, methods exist for studying translocation processes. In particular, anthrax toxin’s movement across cellular membranes provides a model for studying general translocation mechanisms. Allen’s specific interest lies in elucidating the steric effects that particularly bulky, hydrophobic amino acid side-chains have on anthrax toxin’s translocation. By investigating translocation rates of anthrax toxin, Allen hopes to provide a deeper understanding of the toxin’s mechanism for cell entry. In addition, this study may provide implications for our overall understanding of the mechanisms that hinder protein translocation across membranes, perhaps leading to insight into the synthesis of effective counter-toxin drugs.