September 2012

Chemical and systems biology


Function and Evolution of Metabolic Networks
Controlling Cellular Communication
Manipulating Metabolic Networks
Assembly and Control of Dynamic Protein Complexes

For more details, go to the ASBMB 2013 meeting program page and click to expand “Chemical and Systems Biology.”

Molecules of all sizes function within complex networks in cells. Understanding cell physiology requires an understanding of the network components individually, their interactions with each other and the function of the entire network. The annual meeting sessions on chemical and systems biology will feature exciting new research on the function and evolution of interactions at scales ranging from small molecules to cellular networks.

The sessions on systems biology focus on the function, evolution and manipulation of metabolic networks. Two speakers will describe the use of quantitative systems-biology approaches to reveal a fascinating picture of the dynamics of cellular metabolism in bacteria and mammalian cells. Two speakers will focus on the evolution of metabolic pathways from different perspectives: the use of genomic resources to analyze the historical evolution of pathways and the use of experimental approaches to analyze the emergence of a novel pathway patched together from promiscuous activities of enzymes that normally serve other functions. The final speakers will show how a greater understanding of metabolic networks provides the framework for efforts to manipulate networks in applications as diverse as the production of chemicals and the treatment of cancer.

The chemical biology sessions will focus on communication within networks. Two talks will address the mechanisms of communication between bacteria and their hosts, including the discovery of small molecules that regulate the communication and behavior of both the bacteria and the eukaryote. Hubs of the signaling networks that underlie cellular communication and phenotype rely on multicomponent complexes that assemble and disassemble in a dynamic fashion. Because of their often transient existence and the inherent conformational dynamics of the constituent macromolecules, these complexes have been challenging to define and control. In four talks, we will learn about cutting-edge spectroscopic methods for capturing the structure and dynamics of these complexes as well as the latest strategies for regulating their assembly and function using artificial modulators. In one case, for example, designer ligands are used to control B-cell signaling through modulating receptor cluster assemblies.


Photo of Anna K. MappPhoto of Shelley CopleyAnna K. Mapp ( is a professor in the department of chemistry and the director of the chemical biology program at the University of Michigan.
Shelley Copley ( is a professor in the department of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

ASBMB annual meeting grassy knoll graphic
found= true1955