XXXIX Chile’s Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Society Annual Meeting


The Annual Meeting of the XXXIX Chile’s Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Society took place in September 27-30, 2016 at the Hotel Patagonico in the city of Puerto Varas. Scientists from all over Chile attended this meeting.

Here, Drs. Lisette Leyton and Christian Wilson organized the Symposium “Effect of force in biology: from enzymes to signaling in the cell”, where they presented their work, together with two invited international speakers, Dr. Giovanni Zocchi (UCLA, California, USA) and Dr. Thomas Barker (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA).

During her presentation, Dr. Leyton presented her studies on “The proteoglycan Syndecan-4 potentiates integrin-induced cell contraction”, which showed how the combined interaction between the astrocyte αvβ3 integrin and Syndecan-4 with the neuronal Thy-1 receptor suppresses neurite outgrowth and induces the contraction of existing processes, showing that Syndecan-4 contributes to generate an unfavorable environment for axon regeneration.

In addition, an award was given to the doctoral student Francesca Burgos, a prominent member of our laboratory and part of Dr. Leyton’s research team. Francesca was selected as the best oral presentation of the congress. She presented the study “Characterization of Thy-1 and αVβ3 integrin interactions in crude extracts at the single molecule level using Optical Tweezer”, which represents a novel experimental and mathematical strategy to characterize the mechanical response of the bimolecular union between Thy-1 and αVβ3 integrin using non-purified proteins. Her findings constitute an initial step towards understanding how the neuron-astrocyte pair senses and responds to mechanical cues.