Paul Adams, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has received $108,000 over two years as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to hire two postdoctoral associates who will perform detailed studies of two different mutants of a protein involved in cell growth regulation.
Adams studies a member of the Ras family of proteins that is involved in turning the growth of a cell on and off. His research team has created genetically engineered mutants of the protein with interesting results.
“If you engineer chemical differences in what you think are important regions of a protein, you can determine how vital these regions really are to the function of the protein,” Adams said. “This allows you to determine the important aspects of proteins that need to be targeted for therapeutic purposes.”
The first new study will be based on a finding in Adams’ laboratory – that a single mutation in the Ras protein decreases the flexibility of an important interaction. The new study will focus on simple experiments to determine how the decreased flexibility interferes with the protein’s ability to do its job.
“We made a mutation in an important region of our Ras protein known to be vital for the proper interaction of cell signaling regulatory proteins, and the mutation seemed to reduce the flexibility of the protein,” Adams said. “We have preliminary data that shows that this one mutation causes a decrease in an important protein-protein interaction,” one that interferes with the protein’s ability to properly signal between its active and inactive state – thus, the cell cannot turn growth on and off.
The second new study facilitated by the NIH supplement will be based on work in Adams’ laboratory, which characterized the molecular details of a mutation that highlighted how the protein, which normally cycles between active and inactive states, existed in a permanently active state, also known as a “fast-cycling mutant.” The new research will help determine if a mutation alone generates the fast-cycling state dictated by the nature of a bound nucleotide, or if an important protein-protein interaction is also disturbed, helping to cause the Ras protein to be permanently active. To do this, the researchers have created a mutant that destabilizes the binding region of the Ras protein.
“If Ras proteins are in an over-active state, this facilitates oncogenic activity,” Adams said.
“Our long-term goal in the laboratory is to use the information gained from our studies on the molecular details of these mutations in the subsequent design of drugs to change protein interactions that may cause oncogenic cell signaling,” Adams said.
Adams is a professor in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.CONTACTS:
Melissa Lutz Blouin | Newswise Science News
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine