Medicine & Dentistry-Biochemistry
University of Alberta
Summary of research:
Using X-ray crystallography our lab studies the structure and function of various membrane proteins critical to disease. This includes rhomboid proteases known to play roles in signalling events influencing cell fate and apoptosis. Rhomboid proteases have been linked to hereditary blindness, Type II diabetes and breast cancer. This information will be used for de novo drug design. We have generated several expression constructs to over-produce rhomboid. We have solved the structure of a rhomboid intramembrane protease from Haemophilus influenzae. While the rhomboid protesase is known, substrates for this enzyme are still elusive. We are carrying out experiments to identify both prokaryotic and eukaryotic rhomboid substrates. Our goal is to identify substrates that are cleaved by rhomboids in breast cancer cells. Future directions involved expressing rhomboids know to play a role in Breast Cancer. In a second research theme, we are examining the structure of membrane proteins involved in iron uptake in pathogenic bacteria such as Neisseria meningitidis. This information will be used towards vaccine development against childhood upper respiratory infections.