My research is in the area of biochemistry, specifically, the relation of structure to function in proteins.
For the past several years, I have focused on proteases and peptidases, i.e., enzymes which degrade other proteins, and inhibitors for those enzymes. Current projects focus on the enzyme thimet oligopeptidase (TOP), which terminates the signal of bioactive peptides, and other neuropeptidases. For structural studies, we collaborate with Jeff Sigman at St. Mary's College and Marc Glucksman at Rosalind Franklin University. Together with Marc Tetel's lab in the Wellesley College Neuroscience Program, we have investigated the control of the enzyme in brain, especially in response to steroid hormones. Ongoing projects are focused on control of these enzymes in prostate cancer cells.
Thimet oligopeptidase (Ray, K., Hines, C.S., Coll-Rodriguez, J., Rodgers, D.W. J.Biol.Chem., 2004 , 279, 20480-20489), a metalloenzyme involved in neuroendocrine pathways and blood pressure regulation
Cells in the medial preoptic area (mPOA, panels A-C) and ventrolateral portion of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMNvl, panels D-F) coexpress TOP (red) and ERα (green) from a control animal. TOP alone (A and D), ERα alone (B and E) and overlaid image of cells expressing both TOP and ERα (C and F).Cells in the mPOA and VMNvl expressing TOP only (red arrows), ERα only (green arrows) and both TOP and ERα (yellow arrows).