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In collaboration with Associate Professor V. Filichev, Professor G. Jameson and Professor R. Harris (University of Minnesota), we design, make and test the DNA-based inhibitors of APOBEC3 proteins. For the biophysical characterization of the APOBEC3-inhibitors complexes, we use mainly NMR, ITC and SAXS techniques. I am also interested in dynamics of APOBEC3 proteins and their interaction with DNA and RNA substrates.
I am a NMR spectroscopist with expertise in protein and nucleic-acid structural biology. Through my scientific carrier, I have used advanced NMR techniques to connect structures and dynamics of disease-relevant proteins to their function. Area of my special interests are double sword APOBEC proteins, which can mutate viral DNA to protect us against pathogens, but at the same time they can mutate human DNA and cause cancer development and cancer evolution as well as drug resistance in cancers. We are working to find inhibitors of those proteins to transform cancers from the terminal disease to the manageable condition
My research focuses on protein-DNA interaction of APOBEC3 (A3) proteins. APOBEC3 proteins provide a key part of our defence against viral pathogens. They act by attacking single-stranded viral DNA (ssDNA) and destroy their genetic information by mutating the cytidines to uridines. For this defence to work, it is essential to distinguish between pathogen DNA and our own genetic information. How A3 proteins recognize specific ssDNA and specific pathogens, but neither double-stranded DNA nor RNA, remains unknown. We are using high-resolution NMR to answer this and others important biological questions.
Health and Well-being
Field of research codes
Biochemistry and Cell Biology (060100): Biological Sciences (060000): Enzymes (060107): Structural Biology (incl. Macromolecular Modelling) (060112)
Nuclear magnetic resonance on biomolecules
Project Title: Screening for APOBEC3B Inhibitors: New Approach to Fighting Breast Cancer
Date Range: 2014 - 2017
Funding Body: Health Research Council of New Zealand
Thermal Physics (parts)