Leetola, Catherine N.

Catherine is a first year trainee and is in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Her research mentor is Dr. James Bowie.  She received a B.S. degree in 2006 from UC San Diego. 

Mentor: Dr. James Bowie

Research project:

Protein-protein interactions are mediated by protein motifs and are involved in many aspects of the cell including signalling and correct protein localization.  We are specifically interested in the sterile alpha motif (SAM) domain, which is a protein interaction domain that has roles in scaffolding due to its ability to form homopolymers, heteropolymers, or interact with RNA.  SAM domains are common in eukaryotic genomes, having a prevalence close to that of SH2 domains.  In humans there are more than 90 different SAM domain-containing proteins.  Our research seeks to identify new human SAM domain interactions and novel polymer formations including new polymer shapes or polymers formed from proteins with tandem SAM domains.  These findings will be characterized using structural, biochemical, in vitro cell biological methods.