Matthew Brook Research Group
Information on the research interests, projects, and members of Matthew Brook's Research Group.
Dr Matthew Brook
Lecturer (University of Edinburgh) and Assistant Professor (University of Edinburgh/Zhejiang University)
I am fascinated by the molecular 'circuitry' that underpins a cell's ability to produce all the proteins it requires for its viability and correct function. Without this 'circuitry' there would be nothing to ensure that proteins are made at the right time, in the correct location and in the correct amounts, therefore it is essential for life. However, the combinations of intracellular signalling and responsive gene expression that comprise the molecular 'circuits' do not always work perfectly, e.g. due to gene mutations and/or environmental influences (such as diet) and this can lead to morbidity/disease (e.g. cancer, metabolic and cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, reproductive disorders etc.).
It is therefore crucial that we first determine the normal cellular mechanisms that control protein synthesis. By identifying the mechanistically-required protein and RNA factors and, critically, by delineating the way in which signals from outside and inside the cell are relayed to these factors, we build a platform from which to begin understanding how protein synthesis becomes dysregulated in disease/morbidity.
Unfortunately, vast proportions of the molecular circuitry of normal metabolic and cardiovascular health remain to be uncovered and we are therefore unable to fully understand the mechanisms by which metabolic and cardiovascular diseases arise and/or progress. We aim to change this.
In the lab, we take two complementary approaches to deciphering post-transcriptional regulation:
- We take a targeted approach and simultaneously work to understand i) how specific RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) function to coordinate gene expression, ii) how specific RNA-binding protein functions are regulated by post-translational modifications (such as phosphorylation, acetylation and methylation) in response to specific cellular signals and iii) what signalling pathways and effector enzymes carry out these specific post-translational modifications.
- We take an agnostic approach and aim to elucidate the post-transcriptional molecular circuitry of disease/morbidity by identifying expression and/or post-translational modification changes in the total cellular RBP-ome and changes in the RNA-binding status of all expressed RBPs (general and substrate-specific).
These are multidisciplinary investigations that require both routine and cutting-edge methodologies and expertise (e.g. site-specific post-translational modification of recombinant proteins using codon extension/unnatural amino acids, surface plasmon resonance, X-ray crystallography, quantitative mass spectrometry, RBP interactome capture) and which range from in vitro methods using purified components through to in vivo physiology...and everything in between.
For a list of up-to-date publications, please visit:
Other Research Group Members
|Etienne Dubiez||Postdoctoral Research Fellow||Etienne.Dubiez@ed.ac.uk|
|Hristina Gyurova||PhD Studentfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mathias Lorbeer||PhD Studentemail@example.com|