More evidence that the front lines of research on life-threatening diseases are right here on the UGA campus and in the Franklin College. Insightful new work from a research group lead by faculty member Natarajan Kannan of the Institute for Bioinformatics and the department of biochemistry and molecular biology:
Enter protein kinases. Like specialized traffic signals, this huge class of proteins is critical for many aspects of cell communication, telling them when to begin work and when to stop.
Now, University of Georgia researchers have discovered that a little-studied part of the protein kinases that once appeared non-functional may actually control the most critical functions of the entire molecule. Their research promises to help improve drugs used to fight a variety of life-threatening diseases, from diabetes to cancer.
"The overall goal of this project was to better understand how these proteins function and what mechanisms control their function," said Natarajan Kannan, a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar and assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "Our research shows that these little-studied dark regions of the protein are directly affecting the molecule's function."