Structural studies of proteins in apoptosis and lipid signaling
Abstract: Signaling pathways control the fate of the cell. For example, they promote cell survival or commit the cell to death (apoptosis) in response to cell injury or developmental stimuli, decisions, which are vital for the proper development and functioning of metazoan. Tight control of such pathways is essential; dysregulation of apoptosis can disrupt the delicate balance between cell proliferation and cell death ending up in pathological processes, including cancer, autoimmunity diseases, inflammatory diseases, or degenerative disorders. We have used a structural genomic approach to study the structure and function of key proteins involved in apoptosis and lipid signaling: the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bfl-1 in complex with a Bim peptide, the BIR domains of the Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) family members, cIAP2 and NAIP and the a lipid kinase YegS. The structural analysis of the apoptosis regulatory proteins has revealed important information on the structural determinants for recognition of interacting proteins, which can now assist in the development of therapeutic drugs for human diseases. The structural and complementing biochemical studies of the lipid kinase YegS have reveled the first detailed information on a lipid kinase and explained important aspects of its structure-function relationship.Finally, one subject of this work aim to solve what is arguably the most challenging problem in structural projects – to obtain a high production level of proteins suitable for structural studies. We have developed a highthroughput protein solubility screening, the colony filtration (CoFi) blot, which allows soluble clones to be identified from large libraries of protein variants and now constitute a powerful tool for solving difficult protein production problems.
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