This K02 application seeks support from NIDA for Dr. Marta Filizola's continued career development as an independent investigator. Her overall career goal is to contribute to the advancement in knowledge towards a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR)-mediated actions of drugs of abuse by means of computational methodologies that range from bioinformatics to modeling and simulation. In view of the recently established role and importance of GPCR oligomerization in receptor function, current research objectives of the Filizola laboratory are: a) To build refined three-dimensional (3D) models of GPCR oligomers;b) To build activated states of GPCR complexes in the interaction with their G-proteins;c) To study the dynamics of active and inactive GPCR complexes, so as to identify the molecular determinants responsible for allosteric modulation of GPCR function;d) To identify the molecular determinants responsible for the specificity of GPCR oligomerization and functional plasticity;and e) To develop, interpret and disseminate to the scientific community detailed information about the structural context of GPCR oligomerization and its experimentally determined implication for mechanisms of drug abuse. These research objectives are embodied in the proposed aims of the applicant's two currently funded NIDA projects, R01 DA020032 and R21/R33 DA017976. In pursuit of these long-term research goals, the objectives of the current K02 application include: 1) freeing the applicant from some teaching and administrative duties to devote nearly full time to develop further her research studies on GPCRs involved in mechanisms of drug abuse;2) advancing the applicant's progress in becoming a leader in computational studies of GPCR dimers/oligomers;and 3) intensifying the applicant's training in experimental techniques currently used to study structure, function, and dynamics of GPCR dimers/oligomers. Career development activities proposed in this application include interactions and collaborations designed to expose the applicant to novel computational methodologies as well as molecular and biophysical experimental techniques in vitro and in vivo.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding of GPCR function has recently been challenged by experimental evidence that several of these receptors are organized in the cell membrane as oligomers with unique pharmacological properties. Oligomeric models of GPCRs resulting from use of computational approaches further supported by experiments are expected to help design more effective and selective agents for therapeutic purposes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research (K02)
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Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Rapaka, Rao
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Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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Marino, Kristen A; Shang, Yi; Filizola, Marta (2018) Insights into the function of opioid receptors from molecular dynamics simulations of available crystal structures. Br J Pharmacol 175:2834-2845
Marino, Kristen A; Filizola, Marta (2018) Investigating Small-Molecule Ligand Binding to G Protein-Coupled Receptors with Biased or Unbiased Molecular Dynamics Simulations. Methods Mol Biol 1705:351-364
Meral, Derya; Provasi, Davide; Prada-Gracia, Diego et al. (2018) Molecular details of dimerization kinetics reveal negligible populations of transient µ-opioid receptor homodimers at physiological concentrations. Sci Rep 8:7705
Filizola, Marta (2018) Insights from molecular dynamics simulations to exploit new trends for the development of improved opioid drugs. Neurosci Lett :
Yano, Hideaki; Provasi, Davide; Cai, Ning Sheng et al. (2017) Development of novel biosensors to study receptor-mediated activation of the G-protein ? subunits Gs and Golf. J Biol Chem 292:19989-19998
Kapoor, Abhijeet; Martinez-Rosell, Gerard; Provasi, Davide et al. (2017) Dynamic and Kinetic Elements of µ-Opioid Receptor Functional Selectivity. Sci Rep 7:11255
Marino, Kristen A; Prada-Gracia, Diego; Provasi, Davide et al. (2016) Impact of Lipid Composition and Receptor Conformation on the Spatio-temporal Organization of ?-Opioid Receptors in a Multi-component Plasma Membrane Model. PLoS Comput Biol 12:e1005240
Schneider, Sebastian; Provasi, Davide; Filizola, Marta (2016) How Oliceridine (TRV-130) Binds and Stabilizes a ?-Opioid Receptor Conformational State That Selectively Triggers G Protein Signaling Pathways. Biochemistry 55:6456-6466
Crowley, Rachel Saylor; Riley, Andrew P; Sherwood, Alexander M et al. (2016) Synthetic Studies of Neoclerodane Diterpenes from Salvia divinorum: Identification of a Potent and Centrally Acting ? Opioid Analgesic with Reduced Abuse Liability. J Med Chem 59:11027-11038
Kruegel, Andrew C; Gassaway, Madalee M; Kapoor, Abhijeet et al. (2016) Synthetic and Receptor Signaling Explorations of the Mitragyna Alkaloids: Mitragynine as an Atypical Molecular Framework for Opioid Receptor Modulators. J Am Chem Soc 138:6754-64

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