Department of Genetics, Cell Biology & Development
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Title: “Bridging the information transfer gap: How weak protein interactions shape signal transduction”
Cell signaling emerges from an ensemble of dynamic, transient, protein-protein interactions in crowded cellular environments. Aberrant protein-protein interactions in signaling pathways are very often implicated in many debilitating or fatal diseases such as diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. However, established structural and cell biological techniques are mostly limited to examining the function of stable protein complexes, and do not address emergent behavior stemming from multiple transient interactions. My research program centers on the concept that protein interaction networks in cells have evolved to harness multi-protein interactions, requiring in cell biochemical measurements of cellular processes and in vitro reconstitution of transient multi-protein assemblies. We use a genetically encoded technique called Systematic Protein Affinity Strength Modulation (SPASM) that allows us to control protein interactions both in vitro and in cells to dissect the molecular mechanisms that dictate context-dependent specificity in signaling pathways. I will present recent work on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and kinases that highlight the importance of weak interactions in shaping cellular signaling cascades.
Host: Tatyana Igumenova
Location: 108 Biochemistry Building (Bldg#1507)