CROWDING EFFECTS ON THE BEHAVIOR OF MACROMOLECULAR NANO-OBJECTS
The general framework of this project is to contribute to the understanding of crowding effects on the structure and dynamics of macromolecules of diverse types. We are currently running a project focused on single-chain nano-particles (SCNPs) –soft nano-objects obtained by intramolecular cross-linking of individual macromolecules. In dilute conditions, SCNPs have been found to adopt sparse morphologies, reminiscent of those presented by intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) under the same dilute conditions. This similarity motivates the use of synthetic SCNPs as mimicking nano-objects for IDP to investigate structural as well as dynamical aspects as functions of different variables. The proposed project aims to characterize the influence of increasing the concentration of the macromolecular environment of SCNPs and IDPs. In this way, we try to extract universal features due to steric effects of the behavior of biomacromolecules in the crowded conditions typical for cellular environments. The study will be based on the application of scattering techniques, in particular neutron scattering on deuterium-labeled samples, as well as small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), static and dynamic light scattering (SLS and DLS) available in our labs. Experience of the candidate in light scattering will be particularly appreciated.
PROFILE: Scattering Experiments on crowded macromolecular solutions. We are looking for highly-motivated experimentalists with a PhD in condensed or soft matter physics or in material science. Previous experience with scattering techniques, in particular light scattering, will be highly valuated.