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Receptor signalling and regulation

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One of the receptor families that is most heavily studied in the School of Physiology and Pharmacology is the G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR). GPCRs are one of the largest protein families in the human genome and are the most tractable set of therapeutic targets for novel drug design. These cell surface expressed proteins translate extracellular cues which bombard the cell surface into signals which determine cellular function. GPCRs are regulated in a dynamic and complex manner, and are not static entities inserted into the plasma membrane of cells. We examine the cell specific signals produced by individual GPCRs and the complex regulatory mechanisms controlling GPCR signalling, surface expression and intracellular sorting. Specific research areas include:

  • defining the molecular mechanisms that mediate regulation of μ opioid receptor signalling and its relationship to morphine tolerance;
  • characterizing the role and regulation of GPCRs which maintain the integrity of the cardiovascular system including those expressed on platelets and smooth muscle cells.

We use a variety of biochemical and imaging approaches to address our research questions ranging from cell signalling assays to proteomics to TIRF microscopy.

This area contributes to the wider Cell Signalling and Biology research theme within the School of Physiology and Pharmacology.