Faculty Research Page

John Kuriyan

John Kuriyan

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Chancellor's Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology

Lab Homepage: http://jkweb.berkeley.edu/

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Research Interests

The Kuriyan laboratory is interested in the structure and mechanism of the enzymes and molecular switches that carry out cellular signal transduction and DNA replication. We use x-ray crystallography to determine the three-dimensional structures of proteins involved in signaling and replication, as well as biochemical, biophysical, and computational analyses to figure out how they work. Two major focuses in the laboratory are understanding the allosteric mechanisms that enable proteins to be exquisitely sensitive to input signals and processive DNA repliaction.

Cell Signaling: The major class of signaling molecules that we study are the protein kinases, a large family of closely related enzymes that catalyze the addition of phosphate to serine, threonine, and tyrosine residues in proteins. We also study the mechanism by which the guanine nucleotide-binding protein Ras, a crucial signaling switch, is activated by hormone and growth factor receptors. A new project (in collaboration with Michael Marletta, UC Berkeley) involves the analysis of the guanylyl cyclases, enzymes that generate cGMP, an important mediator of cell signaling. Because of the importance of these signaling molecules in cancer, much of our work has implications for the development of new drugs.

Processive DNA Replication: DNA polymerases that replicate chromosomes achieve high speed by utilizing specialized proteins that allow the polymerase to move rapidly along DNA without letting go. These proteins include the "sliding DNA clamp" (the beta clamp in Escherichia coli, PCNA [proliferating cell nuclear antigen] in eukaryotes) and the clamp loader complex (gamma complex in E. coli, RFC [replication factor C] complex in eukaryotes) that couples ATP binding and hydrolysis to the opening of the beta clamp and its loading onto DNA. Rapid movement of the replication fork involves the coordinated action of two polymerase-exonuclease complexes, working with sliding clamps and a clamp loader complex.

Selected Publications

For a complete list of Kuriyan lab publications, please link to this page:


Last Updated 2007-03-01