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The University of Southampton

Membrane Transport in Cells: NMR studies Seminar

20 April 2015
Room 2207 Life Sciences Building 85 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please email .

Event details

An RSC, Leverhulme, Chemistry and IfLS Seminar presented by Prof Philip Kuchel.

Living cells are characterized by having selective permeability of their plasma membranes to water, and many solutes such as amino acids, sugars, and Na+, K+ and Cl-. Integral membrane proteins, many of which have structural folds that have been solved by x-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy, mediate the physical translocation. Measuring the kinetics of the reactions operating in situ is a challenging task, as it requires separate identification of the transported species inside and outside the cells in a suspension. A serendipitous finding, which we call the ‘split peak effect’, opened up the use of NMR spectroscopy to measure the kinetics of many transport reactions that occur even on the sub-second time scale, using elegant magnetization transfer analysis.

I will give a historical perspective on water transport measurements in red blood cells, and then describe methods and results of exchange reactions using a range of solutes with the NMR ‘split peak effect’. This will include our recent application of 13C-rapid dissolution dynamic nuclear polarization (that enhancers 13C detectability 10,000 fold) to study the rapid entry of 13C-urea into red blood cells. This NMR approach paves the way to studying the effects of medicinals on transport reactions in intact cells in suspensions, and potentially in vivo.

Speaker information

Prof Philip Kuchel, Leverhulme Professor, University of Sydney. Philip Kuchel FAA is a Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the Department of Chemistry with Malcolm Levitt. He was here in 2014 for 3.5 months, and this is his second stint in Southampton. He is known for his work on applying NMR spectroscopy to cellular systems to probe their metabolism, membrane transport on the sub-second time scale, and the rates of diffusion of solutes, including proteins, inside cells. He was appointed to a Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Sydney in 1980 and in 2013 was made Emeritus Professor. He is the coordinating author of ‘Schaum’s Outline of Theory and Problems of Biochemistry’ McGraw-Hill, and coauthor of ‘Modelling Metabolism with Mathematica’ CRC Press. His 440 scientific papers include the first description of 1H spin-echo NMR spectroscopy used to monitor metabolism in cells, the discovery of the transmembrane ‘split peak effect’ that is used to measure rapid membrane transport, and the first observation of ‘diffusion-diffraction’ of water in a cellular system.

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