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Prof. Dr Katja Arndt, Junior Fellow of the FRIAS School of Life Sciences LifeNet, develops "light switch" for controlling proteins
 

Summary: Prof. Dr Katja Arndt, Junior Fellow of the FRIAS School of Life Sciences ­ LifeNet,
develops "light switch" for controlling proteins
Gene transcription, and the production of cellular protein molecules linked to this, must occur flawlessly
if every cell is to function correctly. This process, referred to as `gene expression', is controlled by special
protein molecules, or `transcription factors'. If these are not regulated correctly, in most cases it can lead
to pathological changes which cause diseases such as cancer. The research group lead by Katja Arndt,
Junior Fellow of the FRIAS School of Life Sciences ­ LifeNet, has constructed small protein fragments
which block such malregulated transcription factors, thereby inhibiting unregulated gene expression. In
collaboration with the team lead by Andrew Woolley, Professor at the University of Toronto, Katja Arndt
has developed a mechanism which enables these inhibitors to be switched on and off like a "light switch".
Results of this research have now been published in the leading journal "Angewandte Chemie
International Edition" and rated as a "hot paper" by the editors, owing to its importance in a rapidly
developing field which currently attracts considerable interest.
The published work combines two interesting developments: it brings together the inhibitors
constructed by Katja Arndt, which can be used to regulate oncogenes (literally cancer genes), with the
chemical cross-linkers (chemicals that link two different molecules to form more complex molecules)
developed by Andrew Woolley's group, which occur in two different forms depending on wavelength. The
chemical cross-linkers can be combined with inhibitors in such a way that they function like light
switches: if light is shone on the inhibitor, it is "switched on" and active, however in the dark the inhibitor
is "switched off", or inactive. Using this switchable inhibitor, the researchers were able to regulate the

  

Source: Arndt, Katja - Institut für Biologie III, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

 

Collections: Biotechnology; Biology and Medicine