Gerhard Wagner

Department of Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Harvard Medical School
Building C1, Room 112
240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

tel: (617) 432-3213; fax: (617) 432-4383
Email: wagner@hms.harvard.edu

Research Interests:

Our research is focused on protein structure, dynamics and stability, and on the relation of these to protein function. NMR and computational techniques are the main tools used to address these problems. We are interested in improving NMR methods and techniques to make proteins suitable for structural studies.

We seek to understand mechanisms of T-cell function from structural studies. To this end, we have solved the solution structures of the human T-cell adhesion glycoprotein CD2 and its counter receptor CD58. Both proteins need to by glycosylated to be functional. When examining the role of the glycans we designed mutants that eliminate the need for glycosylation. This was possible , the glycan-free mutants behave well and enabled us to solve the CD2/CD58 complex. We also have solved the structure of the Fv fragment of a class II-specific abTCR and the egCD3 heterodimer. We are interested in the mechanisms of TCR signaling, which involves interactions between the clonotypic abTCR, the invariant CD3 components of the TCR and cytoplasmic proteins.

Another focus in the laboratory is on eukaryotic translation initiation. In particular, we are interested in the interaction of eIF4E with the mRNA cap and with eIF4G. We are also working on other factors involved in eukaryotic translation initiation, such as eIF2 and eIF2B and sIF5B. We are also interested in identifying small molecules that inhibit translation initiation.

We are also interested in protein-protein interactions that are relevant for apoptosis. In the past, we have studied the caspase-recruitment domains of RAIDD and Apaf-1, the regulatory domains of CIDE, DFF40 and DFF45 and their mutual complexes. Furthermore, we are have recently determined the structure the BID protein that is relevant for promoting mitochondrial damage in apoptosis. Recently, we became interested in identifying small-molecule inhibitors of antiapoptotic proteins, such as Bcl-xL, and to investigate their effect on cell growth.

Selected Publications:

Degterev, A. Lugovskoy, M. Cardone, B. Mulley, G. Wagner, T. Mitchison, J. Yuan. (2001). Identification of Small Molecule Inhibitors of BH3 and Bcl-xL interaction. Nature Cell Biology, 3, 173-182.

P. Zhou, A. Lugovskoy, G. Wagner. (2001). A Solubility-Enhancement Tag (SET) for NMR Studies of Poorly Behaving Proteins. J. Biomol. NMR, 20, 11-14.

Z.-Y.J. Sun, K.S. Kim, G. Wagner, E.L. Reinherz. (2001). Mechanisms Contributing to T Cell Receptor Signaling and Assembly Revealed by the Solution Structure of an Ectodomain Fragment of the CD3epsilongamma Heterodimer.Cell, 105, 913-923.

A. A. Lugovskoy, A. I. Degterev, A. F. Fahmy, P. Zhou, J. D. Gross, J. Yuan, G. Wagner. (2002). A novel approach for characterizing protein ligand complexes: molecular basis for specificity of small-molecule Bcl-2 inhibitors. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 124, 1234-1240.

A. Marintchev, V. G. Kolupaeva, T. V. Pestova, G. Wagner. (2003). Mapping the binding interface between human eIF1A and eIF5B – a new interaction between old partners. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 100, 1535-1540.

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