News

Sven Lange, a PhD student in the MRC PPU has won The FEBS Journal Poster Prize at "Pseudoenzymes 2018: from molecular mechanism to cell biology" which was held on the island of Sardinia from May 16-19 2018. Sven was also invited to present a short lecture at the meeting on his research on the IRAK3 pseudokinase. …more

The CK1 family of serine/threonine protein kinases were one of the first kinases to be discovered some 50 years ago, principally because of their incessant ability to phosphorylate the milk protein casein in the test tube. Although it has turned out that this is not their actual role in biology, they have been found to impact many cellular processes, including the cell’s ability to grow, differentiate and respond to different signals. CK1 members can control all of these processes by their ability to phosphorylate many effector proteins in different subcellular compartments within the cell. …more

David Campbell, head of the MRC PPU’s Mass Spectrometry Facility, is retiring 34 years after joining Philip Cohen’s lab as a postdoc in 1984. …more

Missense mutations that induce hyper-activation of the LRRK2 protein kinase cause autosomal dominant Parkinson’s disease. LRRK2 phosphorylates a subgroup of Rab GTPases within their Switch-II effector binding motifs that impacts on their ability to associate with critical effectors. Little is known about the upstream pathways that control LRRK2 activity, other than Rab29 may activate LRRK2 by promoting its recruitment to the Golgi.

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Philip Cohen Portrait

Following his recent Senior Investigator Award of £2.3million from the Wellcome Trust, Philip Cohen has now been awarded a new Programme Grant of £1.6 million from the Medical Research Council.

Both research awards are aimed at understanding how to control of the power of the body’s immune system to prevent autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, asthma, fibrosis and lupus as well as to enhance the power of the immune system to destroy cancers.

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New research by Greg Findlay’s group in the MRC PPU has made progress in understanding the fundamentals of intellectual disability, a developmental disorder thought to affect 1-2% of the world’s population. The paper by Francisco Bustos, a postdoctoral investigator, and Anna Segarra-Fas, a PhD student in Greg’s lab, shows that genetic mutations found in intellectual disability patients impair the catalytic activity of an E3 ubiquitin ligase called RNF12. This prevents RNF12 from effectively destroying its target proteins, which may cause intellectual disability by disrupting development of neurons from stem cells.

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The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) has awarded MRC PPU Director Dario Alessi the 2018 MJFF Langston Award for “service and dedication to our shared goals of advancing Parkinson's understanding and therapeutic development”. For further information see here

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Dr Virdee and colleagues in the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU) have discovered a novel class of E3 ligase. The E3 ligase, MYCBP2, operates in a unique way, selectively transferring ubiquitin to non-lysine amino acids with selectivity for threonine. The ubiquitin is linked to the threonine amino acid via a chemically distinct ester linkage thereby uncovering an unanticipated area of cellular biology. The findings are published in Nature.

 

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Local fundraiser Marc van Grieken so enjoyed his recent visit to the MRC PPU he returned this week, bringing friends and family along with him to learn more about our ongoing research into Parkinson's disease. Last month Marc gave over £70k to the Unit to fund further research into Parkinson's, highlighting his belief in the importance of strong links between local people affected by the condition, local fundraising efforts, and the excellent Parkinson's disease research programme here at the MRC PPU. 

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Ever wondered what the inside of a lab looks like? We’ll be hosting an open day on Saturday 16 June so please join us to explore the world of medical research.

 

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