Colloquium: “Topological Proteomics: Pure Mathematics in Life Sciences”

Marshall University Math Colloquium
November 19, 2004

Christopher Johnson and Peter Saveliev
Marshall University

How can the 3-dimensional ‘folded’ structure of a protein be determined from the amino acid sequence? How can the function of a protein be determined from the 3-dimensional ‘folded’ structure? Concentrating mostly on the second question we apply techniques of algebraic topology to identify significant geometric features of the molecule. In this preliminary report we describe how we have been able to detect “tunnels” and “hands” normally used for holding a strand of DNA. A review of the necessary background material will be provided.