Protein post-translational modifications are central to human complexity, and changes in post-translational modification of proteins are tightly associated with human disease. In this proposal, we will develop general approaches for the design of proteins responsive to post-translational modifications, including serine/threonine and tyrosine phosphorylation;tyrosine sulfation;and specific oxidation via tyrosine nitration, glutathione oxidation, and protein S-nitrosylation. Misregulation of protein phosphorylation plays an important role in numerous human diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes. New approaches to interrogate the activites of kinases and phosphatases will have potentially diverse applications in human disease. We are developing approaches employing design and synthesis to understand the phosphoproteome in order to allow the determination of kinase and phosphatase activities in diverse contexts and in a way that is potentially both spatially and temporally addressable. These approaches will be useful for the analysis of the activities of specific kinases and will be readily adaptable to provide a general approach to the detection of protein kinase activity and toward the activity of diverse protein postranslational modifications. Protein sulfation of extracellular tyrosines provides a critical mode for changes in cellular surface presentation and molecular recognition. Tyrosine nitration and protein S-nitrosylation are common post-translational modifications associated with oxidative stress. Changes in oxidative conditions in cells lead to changes in protein and cellular function.
Specific aim 1 : Development of protein motifs responsive to Ser/Thr and Tyr phosphorylation. We will develop novel, small, designed protein sequences (15-20 amino acids) whose structure is dependent on phosphorylation and which display luminescence only when phosphorylated. The approach will be generalized for application to a diverse series of kinases. Multiple designed motifs will be prepared which contain alternative kinase recognition sites, will utilize natural amino acids to enable their use as genetically encodable sensors of protein kinase activity, and will be incorporated into proteins and the luminescence tested in cellular models.
Specific aim 2 : Design of protein motifs responsive to Tyr sulfation. We will develop a general platform for the analysis of protein tyrosine sulfation.
Specific aim 3 : Design of proteins responsive to specific oxidation. We will develop encodable protein domains which are responsive to specific oxidative cellular conditions, including tyrosine nitration, glutathione oxidation, and protein S-nitrosylation. In addition, these approaches will allow the analysis of the changes in post-translational modification which occur in response to drugs, other small molecules, and other cues that change kinase, phosphatase, sulfotransferase, and oxidative activity.

Public Health Relevance

Protein modifications and changes in cellular conditions play central role in human diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, and diabetes. We will develop new probes to understand the different types of changes that occur to proteins and in cellular conditions in disease. In addition, these approaches will allow the analysis of the changes which occur in response to drugs, other small molecules, and other cues that change protein state. Understanding how diseased proteins differ from normal proteins is important in developing new approaches to treat these diseases and to determine the effectiveness of new therapeutics.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Synthetic and Biological Chemistry B Study Section (SBCB)
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Fabian, Miles
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University of Delaware
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Forbes, Christina R; Sinha, Sudipta K; Ganguly, Himal K et al. (2017) Insights into Thiol-Aromatic Interactions: A Stereoelectronic Basis for S-H/? Interactions. J Am Chem Soc 139:1842-1855
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Elbaum, Michael B; Zondlo, Neal J (2014) OGlcNAcylation and phosphorylation have similar structural effects in ?-helices: post-translational modifications as inducible start and stop signals in ?-helices, with greater structural effects on threonine modification. Biochemistry 53:2242-60
Tressler, Caitlin M; Zondlo, Neal J (2014) (2S,4R)- and (2S,4S)-perfluoro-tert-butyl 4-hydroxyproline: two conformationally distinct proline amino acids for sensitive application in 19F NMR. J Org Chem 79:5880-6
Brister, Michael A; Pandey, Anil K; Bielska, Agata A et al. (2014) OGlcNAcylation and phosphorylation have opposing structural effects in tau: phosphothreonine induces particular conformational order. J Am Chem Soc 136:3803-16