Rebecca Page, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology
Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, & Biochemistry
The focus of my research is to understand the molecular basis of MAP kinase regulation by its interaction with kinases, via scaffolding proteins, and phosphatases. We combine structural data from X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy with biophysical data from ITC, CD spectroscopy and kinetics to understand how MAPK activity is controlled in vitro and in vivo. We are also investigating the structures and functions of bacterial proteins that play central roles in antibiotic resistance.
BiographyProfessor Page received dual B.S. degrees with honors in Biochemistry and Applied Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1993 and completed her graduate work in Chemistry with Dr. C. E. Schutt as an NSF graduate and Harold W. Dodds fellow at Princeton University (PhD, 2000). From 2000 - 2003, she was a NIH NRSA post-doctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute with Dr. Ray Stevens, after which she joined the Joint Center for Structural Genomics with Dr. Ian Wilson to become the core leader of high-throughput crystallization group. In 2005, she joined the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry department at Brown University as an assistant professor. The focus of her research is to elucidate the structures and dynamics of the transient macromolecular complexes that drive signaling in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.
Research DescriptionThe focus of my research is to elucidate the structures and dynamics of the transient macromolecular complexes that drive signaling in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Our primary tool is X-ray crystallography, which we complement with other biophysical and biochemical techniques including NMR spectroscopy, isothermal titration calorimetry, CD spectroscopy, kinetic activity assay, among others, which we use to understand how proteins direct cellular signaling at a molecular level.
The central project of the laboratory is to understand the molecular basis of MAP kinase regulation by its interaction with kinases, via scaffolding proteins, and MAPK phosphatases. Tyrosine phosphorylation is a key mechanism for the regulation of an extensive set of physiological processes. The KIM phosphatases, including hematopoietic tyrosine phosphatase (HePTP) and striatal enriched phosphatase (STEP), bind MAP kinases through a unique targeting mechanism which results in the reciprocal regulation of one another's biological activities. We are interested in understanding the molecular basis for the reciprocal regulation of the KIM phosphatase:MAP kinase interactions to determine how these interactions are modulated and directed by multiple kinase signaling pathways in the cell and how they can be regulated by developing KIM-phosphatase specific inhibitors. We are also investigating how MAPK are regulated by their interactions with scaffolding proteins in order to facilitate phosphorylation by their upstream kinases.
A second project in the laboratory is the investigation of bacterial proteins that play a central role in biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance. In recent years, genes important for . E coli biofilm formation and propagation have been identified using DNA-array experiments, proteome analysis, and classical knockout studies. Identified genes code for proteins involved in bacterial motility, quorum sensing, and the induction of polysaccharide synthesis. Unfortunately, the specific biochemical functions of many of these genes are unknown. Because protein function is more highly correlated with structure than sequence, we are using X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy to determine the atomic resolution structures of these proteins and protein complexes to gain insights into their individual and coordinated functions in antibiotic resistance and biofilm formation. As an example, we recently used X-ray crystallography, biochemistry and genetic to show that the protein most upregulated in the bacterial persister cells (these cells are a phenotypically distinct yet genetically identical subset of cells that exhibit high tolerance to antibiotics), MqsR, along with MqsA, are the founding members of an entirely novel toxin:antitoxin system in E. coli; this work has provided a basis for developing novel antibacterial therapies that target TA pairs.
Grants and Awards
- 2008-2011 American Cancer Society Research Scholar
- 2005 Rhode Island Foundation Medical Research Grant
- 2005 Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award
- 2000-2003 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), NIH
- 1997-1998 Harold W. Dodds Honorific Graduate Fellowship
- 1994-1997 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship
- 1993-1994 Phi Beta Kappa
- 1992-1993 Barry M. Goldwater Undergraduate Research Scholar
- 1988-1992 Regent's Academic Achievement Scholarship
- 2007-present Executive Board Member, Protein Expression Research Group, ABRF/FASEB
- 2005present Associate Editor, Protein Expression and Purification
- 2004-present American Crystallographic Association
- Structural Basis of T Cell Regulation by HePTP
American Cancer Society (RSG-08-067-01-LIB)
01/01/2008 - 12/31/2011
PI: Rebecca Page
- Expression of proteins for structural studies and drug development
6/15/2008 - 12/31/2010
PI: Rebecca Page
- Structural Biology and Function of Macromolecular Complexes
Research Seed Fund Award, Brown University
02/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
PI: Rebecca Page