Protein Structure & Regulation

Protein Structure & Regulation

Our research into Protein Structure and Regulation involves work with both water-soluble and membrane proteins. Our aim is to answer fundamental questions related to the structure and function of proteins that are involved in important biochemical processes.

Major research topics on the regulation of protein activity include investigating how proteins such as GLUT4 are trafficked to and from the cell membrane in response to insulin stimulation, how protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum and the mitochondrial inter-membrane space is regulated by redox phenomena and how cytoplasmic protein homeostasis is regulated by ubiquitin. There is also a strong emphasis on the determination of protein structures using such techniques as X-ray crystallography, NMR and cryo-EM. Main targets of these studies are photosynthetic light harvesting complexes, plant photoreceptors and large multimeric complexes involved in RNA and DNA metabolism. These structural studies are complemented by a wide range of function studies aimed at elucidating detailed molecular mechanisms of action. We provide help and training for others in the Institute and the College who wish to determine the 3-D structure of proteins they work with.

Our work is also supported by expertise from the Structural Biology and Biophysical Characterisation Facility, as well as multi-omic systems approaches, including next-generation sequencing provided through Glasgow Polyomics.

Examples of some of the structures that we have determined are illustrated below:

Protein Structure and Regulation research staff:

Michael Blatt

Professor Michael Blatt

Professor - Regius Professor of Botany (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: Ion channel structure and function in plant cell signalling. Mechanisms and roles of membrane trafficking proteins in cellular homeostasis and stress responses of plants.

Neil Bulleid

Professor Neil Bulleid

Professor in Cell Biology (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: How proteins fold, assemble and are modified in the endoplasmic reticulum of mammalian cells.

John Christie

Professor John Christie

Professor of Photobiology (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: Molecular basis of UV/blue light signalling in plants; Engineering novel fluorescent proteins; Design of synthetic photoswitches for optogenetic applications

Richard Cogdell

Professor Richard Cogdell

Professor - Hooker Chair of Botany (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: The Structure and Function of Purple Bacterial Photosynthetic Membrane Proteins.

Gwyn Gould

Professor Gwyn Gould

Professor of Cell Biology (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: The role of membrane traffic in cytokinesis. SNARE protein function and regulation. Regulated membrane traffic in adipocytes.

Gareth Jenkins

Professor Gareth Jenkins

Professor of Plant Cell and Molecular Biology (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of the UV-B, UV-A and Blue Light-Regulation of Gene Expression. Cold-Induced Gene Expression. Gene Expression and Development in the Epidermis.

Sharon Kelly

Dr Sharon Kelly

Research Fellow (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: Protein structure and folding; protein-protein interactions; protein-ligand interactions; and protein-DNA interactions.

Dr Thimo Kurz

Senior Lecturer (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Laura Spagnolo

Dr Laura Spagnolo

Reader (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Brian Smith

Dr Brian Smith

Lecturer (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: NMR spectroscopy for the determination of protein and nucleic acid structure, dynamics and interaction. Methylated DNA binding proteins. Nematode fatty acid binding proteins.

Kostas Tokatlidis

Professor Kostas Tokatlidis

Cathcart Chair (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: Mitochondria biogenesis (protein targeting/folding/assembly) in health and disease.

Helen Walden

Professor Helen Walden

Professor of Structural Biology (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: Specificity and disease in the ubiquitin system

Cheryl Woolhead

Dr Cheryl Woolhead

Senior Lecturer (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology)

Research interests: Biogenesis of E.coli inner-membrane proteins from the ribosome tunnel to the lipid bilayer.