Reseach objectives and content
The STAT proteins (Signal Transducers and Activators of
Transcription) are a recently discovered class of eukaryotic transcription factors regulating the expression of genes activated in response to cytokines and growth factors. The goal of this research project is to determine the crystal structure of the 16 kDa N-terminal domain of a STAT protein. This domain mediates the cooperativity between STAT dimers bound to tandem DNA target sites. The objectives of the first year are to express, purify and crystallize the N-terminal domain, while those of the second year are to solve the structure by X-ray crystallography. A crystal structure will provide insight into how cooperativity is achieved and will facilitate the design of biochemical and mutagenesis experiments aimed at probing the function of this domain.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
This project will provide training in basic molecular biology and biochemistry techniques, particularly those that relate to protein expression and purification. These skills will make me a more versatile structural biologist, and in the future will permit me to undertake a wide range of structure determination projects, including those which begin with a DNA fragment encoding the protein of interest. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)