3D substructure searching and comparisons: methods, applications and directions
Date and Time
March 13, 2021, 11 AM – 12 pm SGT
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Firdaus Raih Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
The functions of biological macromolecules are dependent on their three-dimensional structures. Although the overall structure of these molecules is important for their functions, only a subset of residues is actively involved in a particular function mechanism. These functionally important residues are usually conserved as 3D substructures and/or motifs and are involved in molecular interactions as binding sites or catalytic mechanisms. In my research group, we have developed methods to identify and compare these 3D substructures in the structures of proteins and RNA. We have applied these methods to identify conserved functional sites in unrelated structures. In doing so, we can investigate the evolution of functional convergence in cases where similar motifs exist and carry out similar functions despite the overall structure being different with no detectable sequence or fold similarities. We also explore whether substructure searching methods could be deployed in applications such as drug development and synthetic biology.
Mohd Firdaus Raih is Chair of the Department of Applied Physics, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He has a BSc (Molecular and Cellular Biology – Biochemistry) from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and a Ph.D. (Molecular Biophysics) from the University of Sheffield. Firdaus’ research is in the field of bioinformatics and molecular biophysics. His research group focuses on the computational analysis of macromolecular structures, and the discovery and characterization of genome encoded non-protein coding elements and regulatory systems.