What is InterPrET?: InterPrET was founded in Spring 2012 and is supported by an Aarhus University Research Foundation pilot center grant. InterPrET uses a state-of-the-art multidiscipline approach to comprehensively evaluate biologically relevant protein-protein interactions (PPIs) for regulation of selected membrane proteins and build fundamental new knowledge of regulatory mechanisms that will have major implications for a variety of other proteins and/or cell types.
Importance of research area: A hormone binding to a receptor; an antibody detecting a virus; an enzyme recognizing a substrate; DNA replication; regulation of cell permeability – all examples of diverse biological phenomena with one common theme: they are all dependent on the basic phenomenon of PPIs. Simply put, all biological processes are regulated through association and dissociation of protein molecules. The systematic analysis of PPIs, including how they form, how they are regulated and where they occur is therefore essential for understanding diverse cellular processes and of critical importance to biology. The identities of vast numbers of proteins within cells are now known; yet how they interact in balanced networks to regulate cell function remains undefined.
A major challenge for scientists is scale, with millions of plausible PPIs and permutations within a cell. Many of these interactions mediate fundamental cellular processes due to their regulatory effects on membrane-associated proteins. Membrane proteins that control cell behaviour are dependent on constantly changing signals. For every variable, including time, unique membrane protein PPIs occur in various organelles. Disruption of these PPIs can lead to disease.
Complete understanding of how membrane proteins interact in dynamic networks is essential to comprehend cell function and facilitate therapeutic strategies for restoration of normal PPIs within diseased cells.
Aarhus University is world leading in membrane protein research, including crystal structure, protein function and dysfunction in epithelial cell biology. InterPrET is a focused node for studying membrane protein interactions within this large constellation, and aims to provide novel expertise for other research groups.