Session S55a (Monday, 5:15pm, Willaman Gateway)

P334: Protein visualization throughout the biochemistry laboratory

Rachel Rigsby (Belmont University, USA)

Basic elements of the undergraduate biochemistry laboratory have remained unchanged for many years—experiments involving buffers, enzyme kinetics, and electrophoresis can be found in most syllabi and commercially-available lab manuals.  Although protein structure is taught in the classroom, students struggle with developing ‘visual literacy’ and applying textbook knowledge to figures in scientific literature.  Described here is a laboratory exercise which introduces students to the Protein Data Bank and investigates several protein structures using molecular visualization freeware.  Students explore protein structure and identify amino acid residues and ligands found in a protein active site.  After completing the tutorial, students generate protein structure figures using the freeware.  This introduction to protein structure is reviewed and strengthened throughout the semester, as students must use the freeware to complete pre-laboratory assignments investigating protein(s) involved in weekly labs and generate structure figures for formal lab reports.

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