Ekaterina Shimanovskaya wins Best Poster Prize at EMBO/EMBL Symposium


Congratulations to Ekaterina Shimanovskaya, PhD student in Gang Dong's group, for winning the Best Poster Prize of 250 euros at the EMBO/EMBL Symposium “Molecular Machines: Lessons from Integrating Structure, Biophysics and Chemistry”, which was held in Heidelberg, Germany, on 18-21 May 2014. Ekaterina was one of the three prize winners and made MFPL heard at this international occasion.

The subjects covered during the conference were, amongst others, dynamical machines in cell division, the spliceosome, the transcripton machinery and membrane transporters. During one of the poster sessions, Ekaterina presented her poster entitled “Structure of the C. elegans ZYG-1 cryptic polo boxes suggests a conserved mechanism for centriolar docking of Plk4 kinases”. The poster reflects her current work at MFPL on proteins essential for centriole duplication: Ser/Thr kinase Drosophila Plk4 and its – so far controversial – homologue C. elegans ZYG-1. One domain of Plk4, the central cryptic polo box (CPB) has been reported for the centriolar targeting of Plk4. The results by Ekaterina Shimanovskaya, Johannes Lesigang and Gang Dong suggest a conserved mechanism for centriolar docking of the kinase that holds also true for ZYG-1, as the researchers identified a native dimeric conformation of the Plk4 and ZYG-1 CPBs. In conclusion, they were able to show structural similarity between ZYG-1 and Plk4 and to establish the molecular basis for their centriolar docking via electrostatic interactions to initiate daughter centriole assembly. On the same day, the paper presenting their findings got accepted by the journal Structure.