Photo credit: Kerry Williamson

Howell lab develop novel ways to treat chronic bacterial infections

3 June 2016|

Bacterial biofilms represent a significant medical challenge due to the inability of therapeutics and the immune system to penetrate this protective coating. In a paper published online on May 20, 2016 in Science Advances, the Howell lab identified and produced two enzymes that the Gram-negative pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa use to synthesis two exopolysaccharides, to degrade this critical component of the biofilm. The enzymes, known as glycoside hydrolases, do […]

The photo shows Scott Prosser, Oliver Ernst, and senior research scientists, Libin Ye and Ned van Eps, discussing recent results in the lab.

Understanding the Molecular Underpinnings of Cell Signaling through GPCRs

17 May 2016|

A class of receptors responsible for regulating neuronal function is part of the focus of a recent study by the Prosser and Ernst labs at UofT. Their paper, “Activation of the A2A adenosine G-protein-coupled receptor by conformational selection,” appears in the latest edition of the journal Nature

There is a great deal of interest in understanding this broad class of cell signaling receptors called GPCRs (G-Protein-coupled receptors), which are responsible for basic processes such […]

An image of missing pieces in the structure of vacuolar type ATPase.

Rubinstein lab found one of the missing puzzle pieces in the structure of the vacuolar type ATPase

1 April 2016|

Vacuolar-type ATPases (V-ATPases) are ATP-powered proton pumps involved in numerous essential processes in the cell. The Rubinstein laboratory has recently used cryo-EM to determine 3D structures of the V-ATPase (Zhao et al. 2015, Nature) and the related mitochondrial ATP synthase (Zhou et al. 2015, eLife). These cryo-EM studies have also demonstrated remarkable conformational heterogeneity in the enzymes. While conformational heterogeneity is biologically interesting, it has limited the ability to get atomic resolution structures […]

An image of macrophage

New advances in phagocytosis by the Grinstein lab published in Nature Communications

6 January 2016|

Sergio Grinstein’s lab studies phagocytosis –the mechanism responsible for the clearance of pathogens, dead cells and macromolecular debris. The formation of the phagosome and its internalization requires tightly coordinated, localized actin assembly and disassembly. While mechanisms of actin assembly to drive advancing pseudopodia are well studied, the mechanism of actin disassembly was unknown. Screening a library of RhoGAP fluorescent fusion proteins, the Grinstein lab found 3 RhoGAPs that were […]

Image of cells.

New gene map reveals cancer’s Achilles’ heel

7 December 2015|

A team of Toronto researchers, led by Dr. Jason Moffat, with a contribution from Dr. Stephane Angers, have switched off, one by one, almost 18,000 genes—90 per cent of the entire human genome—to find the genes that are essential for cell survival. These results were published in the latest issue of Cell.

Read more about this research here:

An image of the cover of JBC.

Breaking down the protective armour of the mold Aspergillus fumigatus

3 December 2015|

Collaboration between Dr. P. Lynne Howell  and Dr. Don Sheppard has led to the discovery of a novel class of enzymes and an increased understanding of how to potentially fight a common and deadly fungal infection.

Read more about this publication here:

Listen to the CBC Radio interview with Dr. Don Sheppard.

mitochondrial ATP synthase

Rubinstein Lab publishes paper in eLife

7 October 2015|

The Rubinstein laboratory, along with collaborators at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, and Medical Research Council Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, England, have just produced the highest-resolution structure available for the mitochondrial ATP synthase. Mitochondria are the ‘powerhouses’ of cells, and ATP synthase is the macromolecular machine that makes the cells supply of ATP, the currency of biochemical energy. Using new cryo-EM […]

“The Case for Junk DNA” by Alex Palazzo

9 May 2014|

Dr. Palazzo, in collaboration with Dr. T. Ryan Gregory from the University of Guelph, published a perspective titled “The Case for Junk DNA” that appeared in the May 2014 issue of PLOS Genetics. It was highlighted on the National Geographic website.

Overview of the Paper:

With the advent of deep sequencing technologies and the ability to analyze whole genome sequences and transcriptomes, there has been […]