Vision: To determine the mechanisms underpinning how cell-matrix interactions control normal tissue formation and function, and how their disruption causes disease.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are essential signaling molecules that are important both for embryo development and for maintaining normal tissue function. Outside the cell, inhibitors such as chordin regulate BMPs. Chordin binds to BMPs, obstructing them from binding to their cell surface receptors, and thereby preventing them from working. The structure of chordin is unknown, because extracellular proteins are generally not suitable for high-resolution structure determination methods. Read more
The polysaccharide hyaluronan (HA) plays a crucial role in the formation of an elastic and hydrated matrix that forms around the oocyte prior to its release from the ovary. The correct assembly and mechanical properties of this matrix are necessary for successful ovulation, transport of the oocyte into the oviduct and for fertilisation. Previous research has identified three proteins involved in the stabilisation of this matrix – inter-a-inhibitor (IaI), TSG-6 and pentraxin-3 – but how they Read more