Navigation Links
Structural biologist wins $150K for 'membrane mimic' technology
Date:6/9/2011

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Dr Matthew Call has been awarded a $150,000 Victorian Endowment for Science, Knowledge and Innovation (VESKI) Fellowship by the Victorian Government to continue his novel studies of immune cell receptors and signalling.

Dr Call's research could signal the beginning of an entirely new strategy for treating immune diseases, using creative 'membrane mimic' technology to solve the structures of membrane-embedded proteins, The research has the potential to initiate the development of a new class of drugs for treating autoimmune diseases and preventing transplant rejection.

Dr Call is a joint-laboratory head, with Dr Melissa Call, in the institute's Structural Biology division. He has spent 10 years studying the immune system and immune cell signalling, focusing on the function and role of the portions of cell signalling receptors that are embedded within cell membranes.

Dr Call said the membrane-embedded portions of immune receptors constituted a significant 'blind spot' in the field. "We are interested in understanding how signalling events at the surface of a cell are transmitted to the inside of the cell," Dr Call said. "Our lab takes a different approach to many by actually looking at the parts of the receptor that are embedded in the membrane of the cell, and trying to learn more about their structure and how they fit together. We hope this will give us a more direct view of the kind of mechanical movements that take place within the cell membrane to transmit a signal across the cell boundary."

Dr Call joined the institute last year from Harvard Medical School, where he and his colleagues spent years developing highly specialised techniques to purify and assemble the receptors in 'membrane mimics' that help to analyse their structure. "We are using these structures to generate hypotheses about how things might move during signalling, then we can use other cellular and biochemical studies to test those hypotheses," Dr Call said.

He said the VESKI Fellowship would enable the lab to use this set of techniques to study the membrane embedded portions of receptors. "We are going to be studying 'stress' receptors on natural killer (NK) cells," Dr Call said. "When a cell has turned cancerous, is physically injured, or infected by a virus, it sends out a set of cell surface proteins that are a 'distress flag' to the immune system. The receptors we study recognise some of those flags and mark the cells as targets for NK cells."

The work is particularly difficult because proteins embedded in the fatty cell membrane are oily and sticky, and can't be manipulated using standard techniques. "One of the problems with the field is that the proteins are really difficult to work with," Dr Call said. "They are difficult to make, they are difficult to purify and, even when you've done that, it's difficult to know what to do with them to identify their function."

Dr Call said that targeting the movements and interactions that take place within the cell membrane could generate a whole new class of drugs. "Most drugs do one of two things: they either target something on the outside of the cell, or the drug crosses the cell membrane and inhibits something going on within the cell. But there is an entire class of molecules that like to live within the fatty cell membrane and we are starting to look at the parts of proteins that sit inside the cell membrane as potential drug targets of the future."

Institute director Professor Doug Hilton said the VESKI Fellowship provided an excellent opportunity to recruit outstanding international researchers to Australia. "Dr Call's research is at the frontier of the structural biology field," he said. "The new ideas and techniques that Dr Call has brought to this area are unique in the world."


'/>"/>

Contact: Liz Williams
williams@wehi.edu.au
61-405-279-095
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Structural biology scores with protein snapshot
2. National Science Foundations awards grant to Oklahoma structural biology group
3. National Science Foundation awards grant to Oklahoma structural biology group
4. University of Nevada professor studies structural basis for autism disorders
5. Structural defects precede functional decline in heart muscle
6. Pitt/Iowa team finds cellular structural molecule can be toxic: Makes pneumonia worse
7. Structural Genomics Consortium releases 1,000th protein structure
8. Structural genomics accelerates protein structure determination
9. MRI scans show structural brain changes in people at risk for Alzheimers disease
10. Blood pressure control system found in kidneys structural units
11. How the hat fits: Structural biology study reveals shape of epigenetic enzyme complex
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Structural biologist wins $150K for 'membrane mimic' technology
(Date:6/2/2016)... --  The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: ... in which consumers will be able to interact with IBM ... voice or text and receive relevant information about the product ... have long sought an advertising solution that can create a ... and valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions and ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... June 1, 2016 Favorable Government ... Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System ... released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics Market ... Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics ... 2021, on account of growing security concerns across various ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... 2016  VoiceIt is excited to announce its ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will ... VoicePass take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, ... and usability. ... partnership. "This marketing and technology partnership ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital ... Sports Association to serve as their official health ... Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training ... association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... Sports Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new Young Investigator ... Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool of 128 ... About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   ... it has secured $1 million in debt financing from ... to ramp up automation and to advance its drug ... for its new facility. "SVB has been ... goes beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," ...
Breaking Biology Technology: