Macromolecular Organization & Cell Function
Since its inception, the primary theme of the Macromolecular Organization and Cell Function conference has been the essential role of macromolecular assemblies in the organization and function of living cells, as well as the mechanisms that establish and control this organization. These include transient systems, such as multienzyme complexes, which have been historically difficult to study but are of enormous importance in understanding cellular metabolism. A historical area of interest has been applications of new imaging technologies which allow visualization of biological processes in living cells at the molecular level. Other techniques of growing importance and interest, including proteomics, metabolite profiling (metabolomics), and structural biology, which provide for the global analysis of cellular activity and function, are also areas of focus. In this respect, a consistent theme within the meeting has been computational biology and modeling of macromolecular structures and metabolic processes based directly on information obtained by the empirical experimental approaches. Specific sessions at this conference have included discussions of the role of chromatin structure in controlling gene expression, the structuring of water within cells, metabolic control theory, mechanisms of force generation within cells, the evidence for channeling in dynamic and stable multi-enzyme complexes, a reassessment of mitochondrial structure and function, and the use of noninvasive methods such as NMR, fluorescence spectroscopy, molecular imaging and one of the first applications of optical tweezers to study intact living cells and organisms. Conferees are also exposed to historical perspectives, on topics such as how our concepts of cell structure and the intracellular milieu have evolved over the years, particularly during the 5 minute introduction given by the Discussion Leaders to begin each session. Recently the Paul Srere Memorial lecture, named after the conference co-founder, also has served this purpose.
What is a GRC? Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) are 5-day meetings that bring scientists together from around the world to present and discuss unpublished research with other leaders in their field.