SFPQ, multifunctional nuclear protein

Splicing factor proline-glutamine rich (SFPQ) is an abundant and essential nuclear protein involved in various aspects of gene expression by interacting with DNA, RNA, and other protein interaction partners. The resulting biological implications are wide ranging, including neural cell development, regulation of circadian rhythm, regulation of viral expression and tumour repression and progression. Capitalising on the recent success in determination of the structure of the core domain of human SFPQ, the current research in our laboratory aims to understand the multifunction of SFPQ by characterising the complexes of SFPQ with its interaction partners.

The main technique to be used in our laboratory is X-ray crystallography, complemented by molecular biology techniques (cloning and mutagenesis), protein overexpression and protein purification. Other biophysical techniques employed in the laboratory include small-angle X-ray scattering in collaboration with Dr Andrew Whitten at Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), microscale thermophoresis (MST), and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). In vivo macromolecular interaction is currently being explored using yeast two-hybrid system in collaboration with Dr Christine Hawkins in the department.