David J. DeRosier
Election Year: 2003
Primary Section: 29, Biophysics and Computational Biology
Secondary Section: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Membership Type: Member
The complexity and elegance of cellular behavior is a result of the complexity, elegance, and integration of cellular machinery. I have been interested in understanding such machinery; that is, macromolecular complexes including viruses, enzyme complexes, the cytoskeleton, and the prokaryotic chemosensory apparatus. My underlying assumption is that visualizing the structure of the machinery is an essential part of determining mechanism. That assumption has motivated my efforts to improve the methodology of electron microscopy, a method ideally suited to visualize such machinery. Electron microscopy bridges the resolution gap between high-resolution methods such as x-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy, on the one hand and lower-resolution methods such as light microscopy on the other. We are using the electron microscope and image analysis to obtain three-dimensional maps of complexes of actin with actin-binding proteins, of bacterial receptor fragments with their kinases, and of the components of the bacterial flagellum.