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Pore me another: Understanding how toxins target and overcome membranes

By Dr Shane Huntington

Chemistry researchers Prof Frances Separovic and Prof Terry Lybrand discuss the biology of membranes, how toxins interact with membranes, and how these processes can be modelled.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

VOICEOVER
Welcome to Up Close, the research talk show from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

SHANE HUNTINGTON
I’m Dr Shane Huntington. Thanks for joining us. Biological membranes are fundamental to many of the life processes of all organisms from the humble amoeba to complex animals like ourselves. In the microenvironment of a living cell, membranes help to control what comes in and what stays out. The proteins that sit on or reside in membranes play a vital role by relaying signals from one cell to another and by identifying and importing materials into the cell. In fact, the neurons in our brains wouldn't fire without the coordinated activity of membrane proteins.Membranes also figure in how toxins which have evolved to target both membranes and their proteins, are able to make the bridge. How do toxins, whether produced by humble bacteria or two-metre long Taipan snakes, do their destructive work on membranes. And how do we observe and model what's happening at the membrane level. Today on Up Close we are joined by two researchers who are attempting to answer these questions by combining laboratory studies with computational modelling. Our guests are Professor Frances...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.