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Most biological processes are mediated by interactions between proteins. Nonetheless, the molecular basis mediating specific protein-protein interactions remains incompletely understood. Our lab is interested in understanding the factors that mediate interactions in coiled-coil proteins. Coiled coils, which are helical ropes of two or more strands, are one of the most abundant protein interaction motifs. Coiled coils play major roles in processes as varied as transcription, cell signaling, viral infection, force generation, cell division, and fertilization.
Our goal is to target coiled-coil domains of proteins relevant to biology or medicine with small helical peptide probes. Important targets include proteins involved in tumorigenesis, tumor proliferation and metastasis. We are combining rational design strategies with library technologies and efficient selection systems. Peptide probes recognizing and blocking specific targets will reveal underlying signaling processes and might become important diagnostics and therapeutics.