Project Title

Therapeutic PLN mutant design

Authors

Kim Ha

Date Awarded

6-23-2014

Department/School

Chemistry

Project Description

Kim Ha, PhD, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, was awarded $17,350.01 for Therapeutic PLN mutant design. Heart failure is a condition which affects approximately 5 million Americans marked by the weakening of heart muscle, eventually leading to enlargement of the heart. The major objective of this study was how to better target the molecular roots of heart failure by designing small proteins which could be used to treat heart failure when they are delivered by gene therapy. This study specifically targeted a protein called phospholamban (PLN) that is involved in handling calcium, a major signaling molecule in the heart, and explores if mutations of PLN can be engineered to improve cardiac contractility and be used to treat heart failure. The methodology used in this project to test and explore these questions included site-directed mutagenesis to create genes for these PLN mutants, as well as biological assays to test how these mutants functionally perform as substrates for the regulatory enzymes of PLN that control its level of inhibition.

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