Solution NMR studies of the plant peptide hormone CEP inform function.


The C-terminally Encoded Peptide (CEP) family of regulatory peptides controls root development in vascular plants. Here, we present the first NMR structures of CEP. We show that root-knot nematode (RKN: Meloidogyne spp.) also encodes CEP, presumably to mimic plant CEP as part of their stereotypic, parasitic interaction with vascular plants. Molecular dynamics simulations of plant- and nematode-encoded CEP displaying known posttranslational modifications (PTM) provided insight into the structural effects of PTM and the conformational plasticity and rigidity of CEP. Potential mechanisms of action are discussed with respect to the structure and sampling of conformational space.





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Publication Info

Bobay, Benjamin G, Peter DiGennaro, Elizabeth Scholl, Nijat Imin, Michael A Djordjevic and David Mck Bird (2013). Solution NMR studies of the plant peptide hormone CEP inform function. FEBS letters, 587(24). pp. 3979–3985. 10.1016/j.febslet.2013.10.033 Retrieved from

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Benjamin Bobay

Assistant Professor in Radiology

I am the Assistant Director of the Duke University NMR Center and an Assistant Professor in the Duke Radiology Department. I was originally trained as a structural biochemist with an emphasis on utilizing NMR and continue to use this technique daily helping collaborators characterize protein structures and small molecules through a diverse set of NMR experiments. Through the structural characterization of various proteins, from both planta and eukaryotes, I have developed a robust protocol of utilizing computational biology for describing binding events, mutations, post-translations modifications (PTMs), and/or general behavior within in silico solution scenarios. I have utilized these techniques in collaborations ranging from plant pathologists at the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences department at the University of Amsterdam to biomedical engineers at North Carolina State University to professors in the Pediatrics department at Duke University. These studies have centered around the structural and functional consequences of PTMs (such as phosphorylation), mutation events, truncation of multi-domain proteins, dimer pulling experiments, to screening of large databases of ligands for potential binding events. Through this combination of NMR and computational biology I have amassed 50 peer-reviewed published articles and countless roles on scientific projects, as well as the development of several tutorials concerning the creation of ligand databases and high-throughput screening of large databases utilizing several different molecular dynamic and computational docking programs.

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