Cotten Publishes Chapter in Royal Society of Chemistry Book - Hamilton College
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Cotten Publishes Chapter in Royal Society of Chemistry Book


Myriam Cotten
Myriam Cotten

Associate Professor of Chemistry Myriam Cotten co-authored a chapter in the book  Advances in Biological Solid-State NMR: Proteins and Membrane-Active Peptides. The publication was just announced by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The chapter, titled “Combining NMR Spectroscopic Measurements and Molecular Dynamics Simulations to Determine the Orientation of Amphipathic Peptides in Lipid Bilayers,” is co-authored with Dr. Richard Pastor ’71, senior investigator, and Dr. B. Scott Perrin, post-doctoral researcher, from the Laboratory of Computational Biology at the National Institutes of Health.

The chapter describes the process and advantages of cross-validating experimentally-obtained NMR structures of membrane-bound cationic antimicrobial peptides, with structures independently obtained by computational molecular dynamics simulations.

The cross-validation process is particularly important because NMR structures of antimicrobial peptides are susceptible to bias averaging due to molecular motions. The approach, which provides a rigorous benchmark for the structural elucidation of antimicrobial peptides, could accelerate the understanding of the mechanism of action of peptides that play important “host-defense” roles at lipid bilayers.

Recently, antimicrobial peptides have been the focus of intense research in the search for new antimicrobial agents, due their strong potency and low incidence of induced bacterial resistance, which threatens to undermine the effectiveness of traditional antibiotics. The mechanism of action of antimicrobial peptides is initiated at cell membranes, therefore it is important to study them under native-like conditions that mimic the composition of bacterial lipid bilayers, as done in the Cotten group.

The Royal Society of Chemistry is a 170 year-old membership organization based in London, with more than 49,000 members world wide. According to its website, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s mission is “to advance excellence in the chemical sciences.” Cotten's research is funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER grant.

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