MEMBRANE PROTEIN BIOLOGY
Cytokine-mediated cell signaling
Cytokines are small soluble proteins that facilitate communication between cells in the immune and hematopoietic system. In response to external stimuli, they bind to specific cell surface receptors to trigger intracellular signalling cascades that are vital for a broad spectrum of cell functions, including proliferation and differentiation, immune responses and energy metabolism. Consequently, cytokines and their receptors are highly relevant drug targets. To elucidate the structure-function relationship of selected target receptors will be the second main branch of our lab research.
G PROTEIN-COUPLED RECEPTORS (GPCRS)
The µ-opioid receptor
The µ-opioid receptor (µOR) is a class A GPCR, and the main target of clinically important opioid drugs, such as morphine and fentanyl that are potent analgesics for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. However, opioid drugs can also cause fatal toxic side-effects and have high abuse potential. Consequently, opioid addiction has become a large and growing public health problem globally.
Our cryoEM structures of the µ-OR will contribute to the development of novel therapeutics.
This work has been done in collaboration with the group of Prof. Miriam Stöber located at the Centre médical Universitaire (CMU) in Geneva. For More information on Prof. Stöber's group please click here.