1. Protein Phophatase regulation: The coordinated and reciprocal action of serine/threonine protein kinases and protein phosphatases is a fundamental regulation mechanism for many biological processes. The mostbiochemically well-characterized protein phosphatase is Protein Phosphatase 1 (PP1), which functions to regulate a variety of cellular processes, from cell cycle progression to neuronal signaling. The ability of PP1 to regulate this broad range of functions is tightly controlled by its interaction with more than 100 different PP1 inhibitory and targeting proteins. Addtional projects aim to understand the regulation and substrate specificity of PP3, as well as tyr-phosphatases. As a large number of phosphatatse regulatory proteins belong to the familty of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) we are also using this model system to understand IDPs mode of action.
Our laboratory aims to understand the specificity of these interactions by studying the dynamics and solving the high resolution structures of PP1-regulator proteins both alone and when bound to PP1. By understanding the specificity we will have the possibility to design molecular switches which have the potential to revolutionize treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes and cancer. More on the Peti Lab's PP1 projects.
2. Regulation of MAP Kineases: The laboratory is greatly interested understanding the regulation of MAP Kinases. Thus we use a variety of techniques, including NMR spectroscopy and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to determine structural and dyanmics to understand MAPK regulation.
1. Inhibition and regulation of Biofilms: By using E. coli as a model system we are using an integrated approach to understand the underlying
biology of Biofilms. Our laboratory is mainly involved in the structure determination of key proteins for Biofilm formation. Solving the structure of these proteins will enable us to understand their function in the formation of Biofilms. About 85% of human bacterial infections involve biofilms so understanding the genetic basis of biofilm formation and finding effective ways to prevent biofilms will help to create novel antibiotic drugs.
All of our current work is supported by generous grants from the National Institute of Health.