Controlling Proteins with Light and Drugs

Control of protein function with photodissociable fluorescent proteins

We develop photoswitchable proteins for research and therapeutic use. Most notably, we engineered photodissociable behavior in fluorescent proteins, then used these to create single-chain bidirectionally photoswitchable proteins. We are exploring applications of photoswitchable proteins in elucidating protein function and controlling gene and cell therapies.

Control of protein function with viral proteases and protease inhibitors

Another concept pioneered by the lab is the use of viral proteases for controlling proteins in mammalian cells. Using HCV protease, we have developed the TimeSTAMP technique for visualizing proteins synthesized in drug-defined time windows, the SMASh technique for rapidly shutting off protein production with drug, and the StaPL technique for stabilizing protein linkages with drug. SMASh and StaPL allow for drug control of viral or cellular protein expression when transcriptional control is not possible or too slow.