Abstract by Connor Morris

Personal Infomation

Presenter's Name

Connor Morris

Degree Level



Dennis Della Corte

Abstract Infomation


Physics and Astronomy

Faculty Advisor

Dennis Della Corte


Understanding a Protein\'s Role in Vesicle Fusion with a Cell Membrane


Learning how the nervous system works involves learning how proteins function in neurons. Transmitting signals in the brain requires fusion of vesicles carrying neurotransmitters with neuron cell membranes. One protein, SNAP25B, aids in fusing these vesicles with the cell membrane, playing an important role in neuron function. There are many theories about what SNAP25B does in a neuron, but there is still much to be gained from a better understanding of how SNAP25B interacts with other molecules.

We use molecular docking simulations to better understand how SNAP25B helps vesicles to fuse with membranes. These programs simulate intermolecular forces and evaluate how well a ligand binds to certain positions on a protein. Preliminary results indicate that interactions between certain fatty acids and SNAP25B stabilize fusion-ready conformations. We will use molecular docking programs to further explore this idea and better understand where ligands tend to bind to SNAP25B and the strength of those bonds.