Belfort Group

Biomolecular Separations Research Group
Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
and Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180, USA


Virtual Gating Machines: A new Technology for Protein Purification

The goal of this project is to gain sufficient understanding of the molecular scale engineering principles behind nuclear transport (i.e. transport of proteins through the Nuclear Pore Complex (NPC) on the nuclear envelope) to allow us to design next generation synthetic selective nanosorters capable of purifying any protein that we desire.

We will first employ a “reverse engineering” approach, dissecting the architecture and operation of the NPC to determine which parameters and structures of the NPC are essential to its main transport functions, and how these central parameters have been tuned by evolution to make transport so selective and efficient in the crowded cellular environment. Next we will use our expertise in synthetic membranes to design and synthesize a Virtual Gating Machine. We collaborate with Brian Chait and Mike Rout, both of Rockefeller University.