Picture of Dr. Stephan A Pless

Special Seminar - Dr. Stephan Pless

The Department of Biology at University of Toronto Mississauga invites all students, faculty, staff interested to a special seminar, on May 5, 2023, from 12-1pm, DV2080 and by zoom: https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/85979048838

Speaker: Dr. Stephan Pless, Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Engineering ancient processes to study membrane protein function & pharmacology with new tools: genetic code expansion and protein semi-synthesis


Membrane proteins such as ion channels play crucial roles in human physiology and their dysfunction is associated with a variety of disease states, such as cardiac arrhythmias and stroke. Despite recent advances in our understanding of their structure and function, many aspects of their biology remain elusive. In particular, their regulation by post-translational modifications and their interaction with endogenous or clinically relevant ligands is poorly understood. Here, I will present two distinct methods that enable the incorporation of non-canonical amino acids with new novel functional properties and/or post-translational modifications into ion channels. The first example will include the identification of the binding site of endogenous neuropeptides on acid-sensing ion channels. The second example will cover our efforts investigate the effects of phosphorylation on cardiac sodium channels, both on WT and mutant channels carrying arrhythmia-causing patient mutations. Together, these studies highlight the potential of using chemical biology-based approaches to study the molecular function and pharmacology of ion channels.

poster for Dr. Pless Seminar