Pappu lab untangles more IDR secrets

Intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) of proteins, when tethered to folded domains, function either as flexible tails or as linkers between domains. Most IDRs are composed of a mixture of oppositely charged residues. Recent measurements of tethered polyampholytes have shown that arginine- and lysine-rich sequences tend to behave very differently from one another. In a paper […]

Understanding features that help cells stay organized

The labs of Tanja Mittag, PhD at St. Jude and Rohit Pappu, PhD, the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professor of biomedical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering, created a stickers-and-spacers model to discern the rules underlying the driving forces for phase separation. The “stickers” and “spacers” are different types of amino acids along the […]

International team finds new mechanism critical for formation of membrane vesicles

Researchers from the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Université de Montréal and McGill University have discovered a new mechanism by which membrane vesicles are made. The roles played by these self-contained nanoparticles are essential to the normal function of our cells. Their dysfunction is implicated in diseases ranging from cancers […]

NIH awards $3.1 million grant for WashU, St. Jude ALS research

Scientists from Washington University in St. Louis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have been awarded a five-year $3.1 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Rohit Pappu, PhD, the Edwin H. Murty Professor of Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering […]

Pappu, collaborators awarded $7.5 million MURI award

Rohit Pappu, the Edwin H. Murty Professor of Engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, is part of multi-institution team to receive a highly competitive 2020 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) award from the Department of Defense. The five-year $7.5 million grant is shared with three other universities and is aimed […]

Collaboration lets researchers ‘read’ proteins for new properties

Clumps of proteins inside cells are a common thread in many neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease. These clumps, or solid aggregates of proteins, appear to be the result of an abnormality in the process known as liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), in which individual proteins come together to form a […]

Uncovering molecular grammar

Collaborative team deciphers the protein sequence-encoded mechanism that drives phase separation From the WashU School of Engineering & Applied Science News… An international research collaboration including engineers from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a protein sequence mechanism that triggers phase separation deep within a single cell. Their findings, published in Cell, could provide […]

Imaging a killer

International team finds high-resolution structural analysis of protein behind Huntington’s From the WashU Newsroom… Huntington’s disease is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disorder that is caused by mutations in one specific gene called huntingtin (Htt). In the 20-plus years since the Htt gene was identified, researchers have focused on the protein encoded by the Htt gene, […]