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Dr. Michael Lerch Receives Grant to Investigate the Regulation of GPCR Signaling by Post-translational Modifications

Mike Lerch, PhDMichael Lerch, PhD, assistant professor of biophysics, was awarded a five-year, $1.69 million R01 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to investigate the regulation of β2-adrenergic receptor signaling by post-translational modifications.

The β2-adrenergic receptor is a prototypical member of the GPCR (G-protein-coupled receptor) superfamily of cell surface receptors, which are collectively responsible for regulating nearly every physiological process in the human body. The β2-adrenergic receptor mediates cardiovascular function and is an important drug target for a variety of diseases including heart failure and asthma. The aim of this project is to elucidate the molecular basis for modulation of β2-adrenergic receptor signaling by two post-translational modifications, glycosylation and palmitoylation, using a complementary combination of structural biology techniques and functional assays.

The results from these studies will provide insight into the understudied yet critical role of these post-translational modifications as regulators of receptor signaling, thereby increasing researchers’ ability to rationally design drugs to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.