Professor Yongku Cho has been awarded a $3M R01 grant from the National Institutes on Aging to study the tau protein in Alzheimer’s disease. The project will be a collaboration with Prof. Jesse Rinehart at Yale University and Prof. Lukasz Joachimiak at the University of Texas Southwest Medical. The overarching goal is to elucidate how phosphorylations and other protein modifications in the tau protein affect its toxicity and structure.
To study tau phosphorylation, they will use a synthetic biology approach to produce tau proteins with exact phosphorylation patterns in E. coli. Using this approach, they recently demonstrated that a single phosphorylation could impact the ability to assemble into potentially toxic forms that cause more aggregation in cells. Through this project, they aim to identify the molecular signature in the tau protein responsible for its toxicity in the brain.
Warmest congratulations to Dr. Cho on this remarkable accomplishment!