SUMO Proteins Emerge as Critical K2P Channel Regulators

In memory of Dan Getz (1969-2006) and sponsored by the Dan Getz Endowed Fund for Heart Disease Research, the most recent lecture in the Heart Research Series was presented on Wednesday afternoon. For the many that were in attendance, Dr. Steve Goldstein, the newly appointed Provost of the university, presented a wonderful story on his ongoing research involving K2P channels. The ubiquitously expressed K2P channels are critical in regulating a cell’s resting membrane potential, making them essential for the proper function of any cell that operates through electrical stimulation. His research has uncovered the surprising result that the activity of these elusive channels is regulated by small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) proteins. Sumoylation was widely thought to only occur in the nucleus, but a number of elegantly designed experiments proved that this is not the case. The recent finding that the activity of these channels is modulated by sumoylation uncovers an entirely new way of thinking about K2P channel activity. Although the research presented was focused on specific isoforms of the channel, Dr. Goldstein’s results will extend to aid research involved with trying to understand diseases of the heart and beyond.

Colocalization of SUMO1 and K2P1 at the plasma membrane, from Plant et al. PNAS 107(23): 10743–10748, 2010.

Lots of seminars coming

Whole bunch of seminars and award lectures coming up in the next week. Steven Reppert from U. Mass. talks today at 4 about monarch butterfly migration and its relationship to the circadian clock. On Monday at noon, Giovanni Bosco (PhD in Mol Cell Biol, Brandeis, 1998) will talk about condensins and global chromosome structure.

On Tuesday, we have the 39th Annual Rosenstiel Award lectures at 4. Jules Hoffman and Ruslan Medzhitov will get award “for their elucidation of the mechanisms of innate immunity”.

Next Wednesday we have the Heart Research Series lecture. Monty Krieger, Whitehead Professor of Molecular Genetics at MIT, will talk about cholesterol, genetics, and heart disease. Finally, next Thursday will have Josh Tenenbaum from MIT speaking in the Psychology Colloquium about “How to Grow a Mind”.

Details (time, room number) about upcoming seminars are always available in the Seminars widget in the left-hand column on this blog.

Heart Research Seminar Wed Feb 25

Prof. Leslie Leinwand from the University of Colorado at Boulder will be at Brandeis on Feb 25, 2009 to give a lecture in the Heart Research Series sponsored by the Dan Getz Endowed Fund for Heart Disease Research. Her lecture, entitled Modification of the Heart: Lessons Learned from Mice and Pythons, will be given at 4 pm in Gerstenzang 121.

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