Speakers at ICG-13

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Biography

Dieter Söll is Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University. He received his early education in Germany (Tübingen, Berlin) and England (Durham University) before earning his PhD in Chemistry at the Technische Hochschule, Stuttgart, Germany. After postdoctoral training with H.G. Khorana at the University of Wisconsin, he joined (in 1967) the faculty of Yale University.

 

A contributor to over 600 scientific papers, Söll’s research interests have varied widely from genetics, molecular biology, genomics, and evolution of protein biosynthesis to gravity perception in plants. The recurring theme of his research is the understanding of the role of transfer RNA and amino‐acyl‐tRNA synthetases in interpreting the genetic code. Currently he is working on expanding the genetic code in the realm of synthetic biology.

 

He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, an Associate Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), a corresponding member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Abstract

The Genetic Code in the Age of Synthetic Biology

Dieter Söll

Department of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Yale University,

New Haven, CT 06511, USA.

The genetic code, initially thought to be universal and immutable, is now known to contain many variations, including biased codon usage, codon reassignment, ambiguous decoding and recoding. As a result of recent advances in the areas of genome sequencing, biochemistry, bioinformatics and structural biology, our understanding of genetic code flexibility has advanced substantially in the past decade. This presentation will highlight our current knowledge of the genetic code, its flexibility, and its evolution in vivo and in vitro.

References

Ling, J., O’Donoghue, P. and Söll, D. (2015) Genetic code flexibility in microorganisms: novel mechanisms and impact on bacterial physiology. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 13, 707-721.

Lajoie, M.J., Söll, D. and Church, G.M. (2016) Overcoming challenges in engineering the genetic code. J. Mol. Biol. 428, 1004-1021.

Mukai, T., Lajoie, M.J., Englert, M. and Söll, D. (2017) Rewriting the Genetic Code. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 71, 557-577.

Reynolds NM, Vargas-Rodriguez O, Söll D, Crnković A. (2017) The central role of tRNA in genetic code expansion. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1861, 3001-3008.

Fu, X., Söll, D. and Sevostyanova, A. (2018) Challenges of site-specific selenocysteine incorporation into proteins by Escherichia coli. RNA Biol. doi.org/10.1080/15476286.2018.1440876.

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