Molecular chaperones are ubiquitously expressed proteins with wide-ranging functions in the folding and cellular translocation of a variety of proteins (1,2). Whereas these house-keeping functions are well recognized and have been the subject of intense investigation, it is now becoming clearer that chaperones are also co-opted in pathogenic cells to carry out disease-specific specialized roles. It is now believed that in pathogenic systems, chaperones abet transformation and allow for the blossoming of the disease phenotype (3-5).
Research in my laboratory is aimed at investigating and bringing answers to several questions:
- What are the transformation specific roles taken on by chaperones?
- Can we understand and differentiate the disease abetting roles of chaperones from their house keeping functions?
- Can we discover pharmacologic modulators of the disease specific chaperone function and translate them into novel therapeutics?
- Can we investigate and understand molecular lesions intrinsic to each disease phenotype through our understanding of the molecular chaperones?