UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDICAL BRANCH AT GALVESTON
This award will provide partial support for the acquisition of a Biacore T100 surface plasmon resonance system at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston. Molecular recognition is one of the most important problems in biology and medicine. This problem is not merely academic, since a clear understanding of the mechanism of recognition will facilitate the development of rational design strategies aimed at producing either agonistic or antagonistic modulators of therapeutically relevant proteins. Understanding molecular recognition requires technologies that provide a quantitative, mechanistic description of the binding process. Numerous methods have been developed to this end over the past 40 years, including isothermal titration calorimetry, and have provided significant insights into a broad range of phenomena. However, no single technique provides the combination of capabilities available using the Biacore T100 surface plasmon resonance system. This instrument provides automated, high-throughput capabilities with high sensitivity, requires only low sample quantities, and can provide a complete thermodynamic as well as kinetic characterization of the binding process. This combination of features is perfectly suited to the broad spectrum of applications, both basic and translational, described in this proposal. The requested instrument will be housed, maintained, and operated in the Solution Biophysics Core Laboratory of the Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics. The PhD-level manager of this Core has already received training from Biacore; he and the major users will receive additional training from Biacore after purchase. Scheduling of the instrument will be web-based, and any conflicts will be resolved by an established advisory committee that includes the PI of the grant and major users. Approximately 15% of the available hours will be reserved for new and outside users. The ability of this technology to impact both the basic and applied research efforts described in this proposal portends a major role for the Biacore T100 in UTMB's translational research efforts. The fact that each of the primary users has been able to generate either published or preliminary results, despite the current very limited access to SPR instrumentation on campus, demonstrates the UTMB research community's commitment to this technology. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Molecular recognition is the physical process underlying all of biology and medicine, and technologies that provide a rapid and accurate characterization of the recognition process are fundamental to an understanding of diseases, as well as to the development of drugs to treat them. The instrument requested in this grant, the BIACORE T100 surface plasmon resonance system, provides a state-of-the-art means of measuring binding reactions for a diverse set of biological problems, and will represent a core technology in UTMB's translational research efforts.