After we learned that we would be presenting our posters on Wednesday, I remember thinking, “What am I going to do with all of my free time?”. Well, I’ve found that I’ve consistently been running out of time to visit all of the symposia, platforms, and posters that I want to see.
I had a great time at the Catalyzed Membrane Fusion and Fission symposium yesterday, which Phyllis Hanson started with stunning EM images of plasma membrane protrusions projecting out of spiral ESCRT-III filaments. From there I heard some wonderful stories on membrane fusion (Frederick Hughson, Felix Rey) and, most relevant to my own current research, protein-mediated membrane fission (Vadim Frolov). All of the proteins and assemblies discussed were larger than my own tiny viral ‘fission protein’, but the talks were nonetheless incredibly thought-provoking. For example, Vadim Frolov’s description of a longer fission lagtime for the ENTH domain relative to dynamin-mediated fission made me wonder if viruses have finely tuned the lifetime of the budding event to maximize the likelihood of incorporating a fully copy of the genome.
All right, now I’m off to a platform on membrane structure and cholesterol. Today is a great day for membrane protein biophysicists.