Protein Structure, Dynamics, and Interactions in Chemical Biology: From Basic Research to Future Therapies

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Friday, May 1, 2020 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm
Peter Teriete


Research Assistant Professor

NCI-designated Cancer Center

Protein Structure, Dynamics, and Interactions in Chemical Biology: From Basic Research to Future Therapies


Interactions between proteins, biomolecules, and small molecules are at the heart of many important biological and physiological processes. Elucidating and understanding these interactions has been the focus of my work for over two decades by now and using three examples out of my research work I want to highlight the importance of basic research in the pursuit of novel and efficacious therapies in cancer. Firstly, the transcription factor Myc is a well-known master regulator in many cancers and I will show how analysis of its binding to Max lead to the development of a novel class of Myc inhibitors. Secondly, dysregulation and re-wiring of metabolic pathways is a hallmark of many cancers and the fatty acid synthase (FASN), a protein responsible for the de novo synthesis of the essential fatty acid palmitate, offers a promising target for novel cancer drugs. Identification of dynamic properties of the thioesterase subunit of FASN lead to the development of new inhibitors, as well as a glimpse into its substrate selectivity mechanism. Thirdly, the spreading of cancer is among the primary concerns physicians and patients face when dealing with the disease. Exploiting relevant biological interactions between CD44, a cell surface receptor involved in the extravasation of leukocytes, and the glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan, allowed us to develop a microfluidic chip to capture and isolate the circulating cancer cell clusters that are the main drivers of metastasis.



Dr. Teriete is a Research Assistant Professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, CA. He received his BSc from the University of Leeds and earned his D.Phil. in biophysics and biochemistry from the University of Oxford solving the solution structure of the hyaluronan binding domain of the leukocyte homing receptor CD44. Dr. Teriete has published over 30 peer-reviewed research articles investigating relevant proteins for structure determination efforts, their role as bio-markers in cancer, and as target to develop novel and effective therapeutics. In his research he continues to study proteins and their molecular interactions and how they can be utilized to advance therapeutic discoveries with a strong focus on cancer.