Wells LabUCSF, Depts of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
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Research Interests

Protein Allostery And Activators

We are interested in the internal molecular circuits of proteins. How does a binding event on one surface of a protein affect structure, binding, or catalysis on a distant surface? Can we discover and predict allosteric sites? Can we discover allosteric small molecule inhibitors and activators of protein function? We are using antibodies and small molecule tools to probe protein allostery and modulate signaling events in cells.

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Protease Signaling PathwayS

We are working to dissect the many protease-driven pathways in the human cell. Which proteins are protease targets? How are they recognized by the protease? How does proteolysis contribute to the crucial decisions a cell makes in processes like apoptosis and inflammation? Can we develop biomarkers based on the products of proteolysis?

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Fragment-Based Drug Discovery

We are approaching the problem of drug discovery in a novel way with a disulfide-based “trapping” technology. We are able to target small molecule fragments to specific cysteine residues on proteins. This allows us to explore protein structure and function. Can we develop this technology to target natural or engineered cysteines of proteins in cells?

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