The Gordon Research Conference on Ligand Recognition and Molecular Gating will be held on Jan 15 - 20, 2012, in Ventura, CA. The broad and long term goal of the conference is to increase our understanding of how integral membrane proteins bind or recognize ligands (ions, small molecules, proteins) and transmit signals across membranes. The main objective of the conference is to share the newest knowledge on ion channels, G protein coupled receptors, and transporters of all types, with emphasis on combining high resolution structural data with functional information to understand mechanisms. A unifying theme in these three different classes of membrane proteins is that ligand binding, gating, and/or transport involves conformational changes. The characterization of defined, mechanistically relevant conformations of fully functional protein will be a focus of the 2012 conference. The program will have about 40 speakers, well-established leaders in the field of membrane protein research as well as promising young investigators. Nine sessions will broadly address structure and mechanism of ion channels involved in sensory transduction, potassium channels and glutamate receptor channels, secondary transporters, ATP-driven transporters, 2-adrenergic receptors, dopamine receptors and other GPCRs. There will also be sessions on new approaches for membrane protein structural biology and on lipid-protein interactions. The goal of the Gordon Research Conference on Ligand Recognition and Molecular Gating is to stimulate advances in this area of membrane protein research by bringing together some of the foremost scientists in this community to present and compare results, discuss new ideas, and establish collaborations.
The health relatedness of this application is that well over 50% of current pharmaceutical targets are integral membrane proteins of the types discussed at this conference. Understanding the structure and function of these membrane bound molecules is one of the most important goals of the 21st century, both for science and for development of new therapeutics. Results discussed and new experiments designed have impact on areas such as cancer (ABC transporters), vision/depression/cardiovascular diseases (G-protein coupled receptors), neurodegenerative diseases, skin diseases, deafness, developmental abnormalities and neurological diseases such as epilepsy (ion channels). Disclaimer: Please note that the following critiques were prepared by the reviewers prior to the Study Section meeting and are provided in an essentially unedited form. While there is opportunity for the reviewers to update or revise their written evaluation, based upon the group's discussion, there is no guarantee that individual critiques have been updated subsequent to the discussion at the meeting. Therefore, the critiques may not fully reflect the final opinions of th individual reviewers at the close of group discussion or the final majority opinion of the group. Thus the Resume and Summary of Discussion is the final word on what the reviewers actually considered critical at the meeting.