Engineering the Universal Switch Calmodulin to “Cure” Diseases

08/26/2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s): 
Jon Davis

Abstract: Calcium is a universal second messenger that either directly controls, or at minimum influences, everything the human body does.  Nature has designed a plethora of calcium binding proteins to decode and relay the calcium signal into specific cellular action.  As an alternative strategy, nature has also conserved a single calcium-dependent switch, calmodulin that instead regulates a plethora of enzymes and ion channels.  Based on information we have gleaned from disease-associated mutations in the human isoform as well as how plants have evolved multiple isoforms of calmodulin, we are smartly reformulating calmodulin to palliate, or potentially even cure various electrical and contractile cardiovascular dysfunctions. Considering not all failing hearts have the same etiology, genetic background and co-morbidities, personalized therapies will need to be developed. We predict designer proteins will open doors for unprecedented personalized, and potentially, even generalized medicines as gene therapy or protein delivery techniques come to fruition. 

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