This proposal requests support for the 2012 Protein Transport across Cell Membranes Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) March 10-16 at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston, Texas. Elucidation of protein transport mechanisms remains a fundamental objective of modern cell biology as ~30% of all proteins are either transported across or integrated into cellular membranes. In addition, protein translocation is directly related to human diseases;many genetic diseases result from defects in protein translocation and infectious microbes deliver virulence factors by a variety of protein transport systems. Recent advances in determining membrane protein structure and in single molecule fluorescent imaging have combined with biochemical and genetic approaches to fuel rapid advances in elucidating what has been a recalcitrant problem. Thus, a dedicated protein transport conference, assembling specialists in diverse methodologies, is essential for continued progress. This conference is the only regularly scheduled meeting in the US devoted to an in-depth coverage of this research field. Sessions for the 2012 conference will integrate diverse approaches focusing on common questions. Invited speakers, who include both field leaders and early career investigators, will present unpublished results on such topics as: 1) the selection of proteins for translocation and their targeting to translocation sites, 2) the structur, function and assembly of translocases, 3) the passage of proteins through transmembrane channels, 4) translocation motors, 5) the dynamics of translocase assembly and action in vivo, 6) the folding of hydrophobic alpha helices and beta barrels into the membrane, etc. The organizers are also keenly focused on bringing a new generation of scientists into the field. For this reason we have added a GRS to this conference, to sharpen the skills of postdocs and students in presentation, discussion, and in interaction with senior investigators. In addition, both the GRC and the GRS contain discussion sessions that will expose junior scientists to a broad range of experimental systems and problems in which understanding protein translocation and assembly is critical. The protein transport field has historically been male-dominated. However, statistics for the last three protein transport GRCs indicate an influx of young women into the field.
We aim to encourage that trend with preference for selection of GRC and GRS speakers and discussion leaders. Preference for talk selection will also be given to minorities to increase diversity in this field. Funds are requested from NIH for partial support of registration and travel for GRC speakers and discussion leaders. This and applications to other funding sources will request partial support for registration for exceptional early career investigators who speak and serve as junior discussion leaders at the GRC and GRS. The successful achievement of our objectives will result in a highly successful conference, and one that ushers a young and diverse generation into the discipline.
This conference brings together scientists to discuss basic mechanisms of how a cell assembles its compartments via protein targeting and translocation. Topics to be discussed include protein translocation mechanisms that are important in a number of different genetically inherited human diseases, as well as infectious diseases, wherein microbes use protein transport systems to deliver pathogenicity factors. As such, this conference will lead to an increased understanding of the causes of disease and will identify potential therapeutic approaches.