Proteins: Design, Recognition, Function and Characterization

The investigation, control and mimicry of protein structure and function form the third theme of Yale’s Graduate Studies in Chemical Biology. Proteins occupy the central position in the machinery of the living cell by providing a diverse and robust framework for the display of a wide range of reactivities and functions. In this regard the study of protein function provides many potential points where the chemical and biological training of students intersects. Researchers at Yale have established a strong series of research programs focused on protein structure and function and also an extensive network of collaborations that expose students to concepts and techniques in Chemical Biology.

Karen Anderson (Pharmacology) investigates enzymatic reactions and receptor-ligand interactions at a molecular level. Her approach is to use a combination of kinetic and structural techniques including rapid transient kinetics (stopped-flow fluorescence and rapid chemical quench methodologies), NMR, and X-Ray crystallography. This allows a quantitative and structural basis for understanding how proteins work at a molecular level.

Anton Bennet (Pharmacology) studies signal transduction mediated by protein tyrosine phosphatases.

Enrique de la Cruz (MB&B) studies the molecular basis of free-energy coupling in non-muscle myosins using an interdisciplinary approach that combines biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology to relate the dynamics (kinetics), energetics (thermodynamics) and conformations (structures) of biochemical intermediates in the energy transduction pathway.

Elias Lolis (Pharmacology) also studies protein structure. Using X-ray crystallography, his lab determines the three-dimensional structure of proteins to gain a better understanding the molecular mechanism by which they exert their biological effects. Proteins currently under study include several cytokines such as SDF-1, MIP-II, and macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF).

Stacy Malaker (Chemistry) develops new proteomic approaches to study complex glycoprotein systems in cell biology.

Jesse Rinehart (Cellular & Molecular Physiology, System Bio) develops nonstrand amino acid translation systems, including translation of phospoamino acids, combined with rigorous quantitative (phospho)proteomics.

Sharon Hammes-Schiffer (Chemistry) develops theories and computational methods to study chemical and macromolecular biological systems.

Sarah Slavoff (Chemistry, MB&B) employs mass spectrometry-based proteogenomic discovery of non-annotated microproteins translated from small open reading frames in human genome.

Yong Xiong (MB&B) solves the crystal structures of key HIV proteins. His lab has deduced the three-dimensional structure of Vif, the critical HIV protein resposible for species tropism and runs an interdiscipinary lab.