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Laboratory of Cell Biology

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In addition to the information presented below, the LCB has an alternative website that can provide you with more detail about their work.


The Laboratory of Cell Biology (LCB) studies the processing, transport, and metabolism of proteins and small molecules related to malignant transformation and multidrug resistance in cancer. The principal investigators of the laboratory, who are experts in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, structural biology, cellular regulation of cell growth and metabolism, resistance to anticancer drugs, and pigment formation, work on research projects related to those topics. The LCB Molecular Cell Genetics Section studies the molecular basis of anticancer drug resistance, while the Transport Biochemistry Section investigates the biochemistry of energy-dependent transporters. The Pigment Cell Biology Section studies mechanisms involved in the regulation of melanin synthesis and photoprotection. The roles of Wip1 in cellular proliferation and p53 in cell cycle regulation are the focus of the Chemical Immunology Section, while the Computational Structural Biology Section is involved in molecular modeling of membrane channel proteins. The Biochemistry of Proteins Section studies the role of ATP-dependent proteolysis in multiple cellular processes. The DNA and Nucleoproteins Section investigates p53 response elements in the human genome, and the Biophysics Section develops novel EM-based approaches to determine single molecule and multisubunit structures. Finally, the Crystallography Section works on X-ray and EM crystallography of proteins and protein complexes. LCB also includes three Cores, one involved in 3D electron microscopy, one in molecular modeling, and one in characterization of post-transcriptional protein processing. Joint journal clubs and data presentations among some sections, and laboratory-wide research seminars facilitate the sharing of expertise and help to foster collaborations among members.

LCB investigators have contributed to characterizing important cellular processes involved in the development, prevention and/or treatment of cancer. For example, the multidrug transporter, an energy-dependent efflux pump (ABC transporter) for many different cytotoxic chemotherapeutic drugs that contributes to drug resistance of approximately half of all human cancers, was cloned and characterized in the laboratory and new ABC transporters and other mechanisms involved in drug resistance have been characterized. Two bacterial ATP-dependent proteases, LON and CLP, which have mammalian mitochondrial homologs, have been characterized and shown to share structural and catalytic features with mammalian proteosomes that are responsible for energy-dependent regulation of proteolysis in mammalian cells. The alternate metabolic pathways involved in melanin biosynthesis, a natural pigment that protects against UV-related DNA damage, have been defined. The structural requirements for binding of peptides to class I and class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules have been determined, and this information is being applied to the production of anticancer vaccines. Structural analysis of membrane proteins and protein complexes involved in energy generation, cancer and HIV has been advanced using computational, X-ray and high-resolution EM approaches.

This page was last updated on 4/2/2014.