Dr. Kym Faull's research focuses on structural characterization and quantitative analysis of the compounds that are thought to be involved in the process of cellular communication. These compounds constitute a wide variety of chemical types. Research in the lab has changed somewhat in this regard and emphasis is now heavily placed on the analysis of peptides and proteins. Mass spectrometry is the common thread linking most of these projects.
Two major classes of lipid binding proteins exist (the so-called beta-clam and barrel-helical structures). These are important molecules which serve to mobilize lipids and distribute them throughout the cell and the body. One such protein is the cerebroside sulfate activator protein. Attempts are underway to define the structure of this protein in solution, delineate the lipids it binds and understand the mechanism of lipid binding. Cloned protein is also available for study in addition to the native protein isolated from mammalian tissues (human and pig).
The process of protein folding, which is essential for lipid binding, is a core question. Experiments are being used to define the structure of tear lipocalin and lipophilin, which are lipid binding proteins found in tears. Attempts are being made to define the disulfide linkages and further details of the structure including the hydrogen-bonded helical components. Mass spectrometry with hydrogen/deuterium exchange experiments and chemical modification in conjunction with enzymatic degradation are being used effectively to probe these questions.
Other areas of research interest for Faull include identification of new neuropeptides and characterization of membrane bound proteins such as G-protein coupled receptors.
Selected Cancer-Related Publications:
He J, Gornbein J, Shen D, Lu M, Rovai L, Shau H, Katz J, Whitelegge JP, Faull K, Chang H. Detection of breast cancer biomarkers in nipple aspirate fluid by SELDI-TOF and their identification by combined liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The International Journal of Oncology. 2007; 30:145-154.
Kozak KR, Feng S, Whitelegge JP, Faull K, Reddy S, Farias-Eisner R. Characterization of serum biomarkers for detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Proteomics. 2007. (Publication Pending).
Waldron RT, Whitelegge J, Faull K, Rozengurt E. Identification of a novel phosphorylation site in c-jun directly targeted by protein kinase D in vitro. Biochem Biophys Research Communications. 2007. (Publication Pending).
Shau H, Chandler GS, Whitelegge JP, Gornbein JA, Faull KF, Chang HR. Proteomic profiling of cancer biomarkers. Briefings in Functional Genomics and Proteomics. 2003; 2:147-158.
Butterfield LH, Meng W S, Koh A, Vollmer CM, Ribas A, Dissette VB, Faull K, Glaspy JA, McBride WH, Economou JS. T cell responses to HLA-A*0201-restricted peptides derived from human alpha fetoprotein. J Immunol. 2001; 166:5300-5308.