The biological processes that occur within all living organisms are chemical reactions, and most are reguated by enzymes. Without enzymes, many of these reactions would not take place at a perceceptible rate. Enzymes catalyze all aspects of cell metabolism.
Our central research topic is the study of structure-function relationships in signaling enzymes, with a focus on protein tyrosine phosphatases. The aim is to contribute to the understanding of how their structural features are correlated with specific signaling functions. To this end, signaling enzymes are studied from several directions:
- as a classical enzyme, trying to evaluate enzymes stability under different conditions, the pH dependence of the activity, the specific activity, the kinetic parameters at the steady state, the substrate specificity and also the identification of the specific inhibitors
- 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, substrate(s), regulatory interactions, 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 overall functional role of the given enzyme.
We have good experience and we are currently involved in the production, isolation and purification of recombinant proteins, expressed in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. Our research activity is carried out through tools of molecular biology (recombinant DNA, site-directed mutagenesis, (RT)-PCR, Western blot, immunoprecipitation, etc.), spectroscopic analysis (UV-VIS and fluorescent spectrophotometry), cell biology, protein crystallization and enzyme kinetics.
Our ongoing research projects are:
- Design, preparation, characterization and testing of new molecular vectors targeting specific leukemic cells for targeted diagnosis and targeted therapy
- Study of tau protein acetylation and its involvement in neurodegenerative diseases