Komives, Elizabeth
Structure, function, dynamics and thermodynamics of protein-protein interactions: NMR, mass spectrometry and kinetics

Contact Information
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Office: Tata Hall 1200B
Phone: 858-534-3058
Email: ekomives@ucsd.edu
Web: komiveslab.ucsd.edu
Group: View group members
Accepting Rotation Students: Yes
1987 Ph.D., UC San Francisco
1982 MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1982 BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Awards and Academic Honors
Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Bruno Zimm Scholar
Kaiser Award for Excellence in Teaching
Barany Award for Contributions to Biophysics
Searle Scholar
Rita Allen Scholar
N.I.H. Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
Research Interests
The Komives lab pioneered using hydrogen deuterium exchange to map protein-protein interfaces by HDX-MS. Combining HDX-MS with NMR and single molecule FRET allowed them to address important but unsolved questions about allosteric regulation of proteins. Initial discoveries focused on the biophysical behavior of thrombin:thrombomodulin complexes. They discovered that thrombomodulin alters the dynamic ensemble of thrombin to favor the catalytically active state. It furthermore induces motions on multiple timescales linked to catalysis. Work on NFB-IB signaling established an original paradigm demonstrating kinetic control of transcription factor dynamics. Here, single molecule FRET was used to demonstrate slow timescale motions that expose the IκBα degron and that expose NFκB to facilitated dissociation from the DNA mediated by IκBα. In another project, we uncovered allostery through a 10-protein ubiquitin E3 ligase complex. In this complex, an ankyrin repeat protein and Cullin 5 each act as a rigid rod connecting the substrate binding site to the ubiquitylation machinery. The lab utilizes a broad range of biophysical tools to discover new principles, which have profoundly advanced our fundamental understanding of macromolecular recognition.
Primary Research Area
Interdisciplinary interests
Macromolecular Structure

Outreach Activities
Minority Access to Careers committee member, Biophysical Society (helped develop summer course in Biophysics for underrepresented students that was recently funded by the NIH)

Diversity Coordinator Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Steering Committee member in charge of recruitment of underrepresented students for Molecular Biophysics Training Program

Ph. D. thesis advisor for several underrepresented minorities.

Mentor for underrepresented minority undergraduates and postdoctoral scholars.

Hosted Preuss School students in lab for Science Fair Projects

Founding Faculty of Academic Connections Research Scholars Program – this program brings 15-20 high school students to UCSD for 3 weeks to work in a research lab.
Image Gallery

Ensemble of thrombin structures that best represents the NMR-derived residual dipolar couplings

Single molecule FRET traces showing the fluctuations within the IkBa molecule

Selected Publications