In the bustling setting of the cell, proteins encounter each other by the thousands. Despite the hubbub, each one manages to selectively interact with just the right partners thanks to specific contact regions on its surface. However, these regions have remained far more mysterious than might be expected, especially given decades of research into protein structure and function. Salk Professor Vicki Lundblad and co–first authors John Lubin and Timothy Tucey, now at Monash University, developed a new method to discover which surface contacts on proteins are critical for these cellular interactions. Their approach shows that essential new functions can be uncovered even for well-studied proteins, and has significant implications for therapeutic drug development, which depends heavily on how drugs physically interact with their cellular targets. The paper appeared in the early-access online version of Genetics on November 29, 2017.
- Taking on the Big FiveCancer is not like other diseases. Most conditions have external causes—bacteria, viruses, injury—but cancer comes from inside us. Cells go rogue, divide recklessly, invade other tissues and spread throughout the body. They do things normal cells cannot do.
- Dan Lewis – Intense ConnectionFew trustees have had a connection as intensely personal as new Board Chair Dan Lewis, who knows firsthand that cures, indeed, begin with Salk. Thanks to the research of Salk Professor Tony Hunter, the drug Gleevec was born. And thanks to Gleevec, Lewis survived leukemia.
- Jared SmithNeuroscientist and self-described history geek Jared Smith wants to boldly go where no one has gone before. “If this were the 1400s,” asks Smith, “and we were Europeans exploring the world, where is the new world?” For Smith and colleagues in Xin Jin’s lab, the answer is simple: the brain.