Structural and functional studies of full-length receptor tyrosine kinases
Our major research program focuses on the structural and functional studies of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), a family of cell surface receptors that play a key role in regulating normal cellular processes. Defects in RTK activation are causative in many cancers and other diseases and are targeted by many drugs. To date, many crystal structures for individual domains of RTKs are available. However, structural information on full-length RTKs, either in their apo- or ligand-bound multimeric states, has been elusive because these elongated and conformationally dynamic single-pass transmembrane proteins are difficult to crystalize. Thus, the central question of how information is relayed across plasma membrane by these important proteins remains unanswered.