Dissection of the relationship between folding stability and biological lifetime of proteins

Project: Research project

Project Details


Protein degradation systems maintain protein homeostasis. A failure of these systems causes various diseases, such as neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. In eukaryotic cells, ubiquitin is a general marker for selective degradation and determines protein lifetime in vivo. In selective degradation, E3 ubiquitin ligases determine target proteins. Although there are ~800 E3 ligases in human, only a handful of them have already shown to recognize specific short peptide motifs called “degrons”. Moreover, the feature(s) for unstable or misfolded structures recognized by E3 ligases remain unclear. In part, this is because we lack a comprehensive approach to investigate the global relationship between protein structural stability, ubiquitination status, and lifetime of the protein. To reveal the effect of protein folding stability (and other features) on ubiquitination and biological lifetime in vivo, I propose to measure these parameters for thousands of designed mini-proteins, whose folding stability has been previously characterized in detail. First, I will measure biological lifetime for these mini-proteins by flow cytometry, and monitor their ubiquitination status by using top-down proteomics approach. Then, I will analyze these data by using in silico analysis and decipher what factor(s) determine ubiquitination states and biological lifetime. This highly innovative and comprehensive approach using thousands of designed proteins will allow me to uncover the fundamental principle for protein lifetime in vivo and provide a mechanistic basis for designing better tools to manipulate protein lifetime.
Effective start/end date3/31/213/30/24


  • International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (LT000166/2020)


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