The central research topic of the group is the study of the structure-function relationships of signaling enzymes, with emphasis on tyrosine phosphatase proteins. We aim to contribute to the understanding of how their structural characteristics are correlated with specific signaling functions. To this end, we analyze each signaling enzyme that we investigate from several directions:
- as a classical enzyme, trying to evaluate its stability under different conditions, pH dependence of activity, specific activity, kinetic parameters at steady state, substrate specificity and also the identification of specific inhibitors as well as the corresponding inhibition constants;
- as a protein, trying to crystallize the purified enzyme preparation and then determine its 3D structure
- as a signaling entity, trying to find its subcellular location, physiological substrate (s), regulatory interactions, the role played in signaling pathways, etc.
The combination of results thus obtained in this way is further used to shed light on the signaling mechanism and the overall functional role of the given enzyme.
The group has good experience and is currently involved in the production, isolation and purification of recombinant proteins, expressed in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. The research activity of the group is performed by molecular biology instruments (recombinant DNA, site-directed mutagenesis, (RT) -PCR, Western blot, immunoprecipitation, etc.), spectroscopic analysis (UV-VIS and fluorescence spectrophotometry), cell biology, protein crystallization and enzyme kinetic analysis.
Our team is involved in numerous national research projects and international collaborations.
Thus, the specific research projects in progress are:
- Identification of signaling mechanisms involved in tumorigenesis, as a result of dephosphorylation by EYA3 of the specific substrate WDR1;
- Study of the mechanism of action of some interference peptides involved in inhibiting the internalization of AMPA neuronal receptors;
- Identification of new tumor markers in acute myeloid leukemia, thyroid cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer. Potential ways of targeted diagnosis;
- Design and laboratory experimentation of a molecular vector based on Holmium166 for targeted radiodiagnosis and radiotherapy.