The research group ProTarg studies enzymes that cleave proteins. Such degradation is irreversible and these enzymes are therefore potential targets for drugs. Hence the name: "PROteases as pharmacological TARGets"!
About the group
We have a special focus on the enzyme legumain, but also other cysteine proteases, their endogenous inhibitors, and how drugs affect the activity and/or expression of these. Experiments are largely based on the use of different cell models.
In a cell laboratory we grow monocytic cell lines and transfected clones of the human cell line HEK.
We use different peptide substrates to measure the activity of legumain, cathepsin B, L, and S, and caspases. For this we use a micro-plate reader that measures fluorescence.
We do electrophoresis and immunoblotting to study the different forms of enzymes and inhibitors. Liquid chromatography (FPLC), is used for the separation of samples.
RT-PCR methods are established for the measurement of legumain, cysteine proteases and cystatin.
We concider the following questions to be of importance in our projects:
- Is high expression of legumain necessary for cancer progression?
- How is the interaction between legumain and the endogenous inhibitor cystatin E/M in normal cells and cancer cells?
- What are the substrates of legumain? - And what are the cellular consequences of legumain activity?
- Is legumain involved in programmed cell death (apoptosis)?
- Is legumain (or cystatin E / M) of prognostic value in cancer?
- Can legumain function as a pharmacological target to halt the progression of cancer?
We have collaborations with research groups at the Norwegian Radium Hospital, Rikshospitalet, University of Lund and other departments at the School of Pharmacy