The cytoskeleton is a very effective drug target for the treatment of disease. We have been performing a number of studies to characterize many drugs and natural products that target actin filaments and microtubules in both vertebrate and parasitic systems. Some of these projects are briefly highlighted below.
- Vinca Domain Peptides
We are interested in how the cryptophycins, hemiasterlin and dolastatin block tubulin polymerization, disrupt spindle microtubules, and induce the self-association of tubulin dimers into single-protofilament rings and spirals.
We are currently working to define the mechanism of action of these drugs on the parasitic tubulin, primarily for diseases such as malaria, toxoplasmosis, and leishmaniasis.
We are characterizing the allosteric mechanism of Taxol function on the microtubule and how this drug affects the mechanics of the microtubule.