Single-Molecule Dynamics of Membrane Proteins under Mechanical Tension

Tae-Young Yoon
KAIST, Korea
14:45~15:30,November 20th, 2015



More than one third of our genome encodes membrane proteins, which are essential gate keepers of cellular information. In spite of their importance in biological sciences, membrane proteins have largely evaded our efforts to observe their structure and function, in particular, in real time. I will talk about our two recent efforts, where we endeavor to apply single-molecule tools to understand their molecular gymnastics. First, by pulling single membrane proteins with pN-scale force using magnetic tweezers, we are able to follow conformational changes of the membrane proteins at sub-nm resolution. I also demonstrate this approach eventually leads to construction of the folding energy landscape of α-helical membrane proteins in a native bilayer environment. Secondly, by pulling down proteins onto the imaging plane of single-molecule fluorescence microscope, we can measure protein-protein interactions of the membrane proteins directly derived from cell or tissue extracts. With the single-molecule sensitivity and millisecond time resolution of this single-molecule version of the co-immunoprecipitation analysis, it is possible to detect changes in the protein-protein interactions in a given tumour tissue. This suggest a path toward molecular diagnostics of cancers at the protein-protein interaction level. I will close the talk with brief outlook for future researches.



Professional  Activities:


  • 2014.2- KAIST, Associate Professor with tenure

– Department of Physics

  • 2014.1- Samsung Science and Technology Foundation Principal Investigator

– Fundamental Sciences, Physics discipline

  • 2011.4- National Creative Research Initiative, Principal Investigator

-Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, South Korea

  • 2010.9-2014.2 KAIST, Associate Professor

-Department of Physics

  • 2007.10-2010.8 KAIST, Assistant Professor

-Department of Physics and KAIST Institute for the BioCentury

  • 2006.7-2007.10 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Research Associate

-University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

  • 2005.7-2006.7 University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Research Associate Department of Physics
  • 2004.9-2005.6 Seoul National University, Research Fellow

-Inter-University Semiconductor Research Center

  • 2000.3-2004.8 Seoul National University, Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering
  • 1998.3-2000.2 Seoul National University, M.S. in Electrical Engineering
  • 1994.3-1998.2 Seoul National University, B.S. in Electrical Engineering


Honors & Awards:


  • 2013 Selected as Principal Investigator of Samsung Science and Technology Foundation (one of two recipients in the physics discipline), Samsung Science and Technology Foundation
  • 2012 Outstanding lecture award (2012 Fall Semester, Statistical Physics), College of Natural Science, KAIST
  • 2012 Outstanding research award, College of Natural Science, KAIST
  • 2011 100 Outstanding Research Achievements funded by the Korean government Selected as one of the Top 5 achievements, First placed in the basic science discipline
  • 2011 50 Outstanding Research Achievements funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of Korea