Student Highlight: Baisen Zeng
On Jan. 10, 2019, Baisen (Sam) Zeng successfully defended his dissertation titled A Structural and Biochemical Study on Ric-8A, an Intracellular GEF and Folding Chaperone for Gαi1.
Heterotrimeric G-proteins (Gαβγ) regulate many cellular processes in the G-protein signaling pathways. The α-subunit (Gα) in the heterotrimer is activated by G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) as its guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), which catalyze the GDP release and GTP binding reactions at Gα nucleotide-binding site, at the cell membrane. Intracellular GEFs for Gα subunits have been identified; among them, the mammalian isoform A of resistance to inhibitors of cholinesterase-8 (Ric-8A) catalyzes nucleotide exchange and functions as a folding chaperone for inhibitory Gα (Gαi1). In a nucleotide-free complex with Gαi1, Ric-8A likely assumes the GEF and chaperone roles by inducing a molten globule-like state.
- Kant R, Zeng B, Thomas CJ, Bothner B, Sprang SR. Ric-8A, a G protein chaperone with nucleotide exchange activity induces long-range secondary structure changes in Gα. Elife. 2016 Dec 23;5.
pii: e19238. doi: 10.7554/eLife.19238. PubMed PMID: 28008853; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5182059
Baisen participated in several conferences, workshops, courses, and presentations:
- 2012-2018 Annual CBSD Research Symposiums (Poster Presentations),
- 2016 Gordon Research Conference in Phosphorylation & G-Protein Mediated Signaling Networks (Conference Poster Presentation),
- 2017 RapiData at SSRL - Data Collection and Structure Solving: A Practical Course in Macromolecular X-Ray Diffraction Measurement (Workshop Completion),
- 2018 ASCB-KGI Biotech Course - Managing Science in the Biotech Industry: An Intensive Course for Students and Postdocs (Course Completion).
In his free time, Baisen is a fishing fanatic (conventional and ice fishing, no fly fishing) and enjoys participating in semi-competitive badminton, playing video games, and composting (mainly for fishing bait). “I grew up in Shanghai, a large city in China, and have lived in California cities like Oakland, Cupertino, Alameda, and Davis. I realized that I am not a huge fan of crowded urban environments. I enjoy the natural habitats and outdoor activities Missoula offers. The people here are overall nicer and less ‘on-edge.’”
Congratulations, Dr. Baisen Zeng!