S. Patricia Becerra, Ph.D.
Proten Structure & Function Section
Building 6, Room 134
6 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-0608
The major aims of the section include developing new tools for studying protein structure as it relates to retina function and mechanism of action of retinoprotective factors. Ongoing projects in the section include studies on pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a multifunctional SERPIN protein that acts in neuronal differentiation and survival, and prevents angiogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis. Studies of the individual activities of PEDF are challenged by the presence of other opposing properties of the same molecule. The research group mapped biologically active regions on the PEDF polypeptide, and identified binding partners and cell signaling receptors for this serpin that trigger different activities. The PEDF binding partners are also being investigated. Development of enzyme- and cell-based high throughput assays, lipid analyses and lipidomics, construction of animal models in which these proteins are involved, as well as development of peptide delivery systems for the retina of animal models of retinal degeneration are also included as projects in the section. Therapeutic applications of small molecules with potent retinoprotective activities are highly sought. The research goal is to lay the groundwork for the development of peptide-based therapies for retinal diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinoblastoma.
Becerra SP. Focus on Molecules: Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF). Exp Eye Res. 2006;82(5):739-40.
Notari L, Baladron V, Aroca-Aguilar JD, Balko N, Heredia R, Meyer C, Notario PM, Saravanamuthu S, Nueda ML, Sanchez-Sanchez F, Escribano J, Laborda J, Becerra SP. Identification of a lipase-linked cell membrane receptor for pigment epithelium-derived factor. J Biol Chem. 2006;281(49):38022-37.
Polato F, Becerra SP. Pigment Epithelium-Derived Factor, a Protective Factor for Photoreceptors in Vivo. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;854:699-706.
Kenealey J, Subramanian P, Comitato A, Bullock J, Keehan L, Polato F, Hoover D, Marigo V, Becerra SP. Small Retinoprotective Peptides Reveal a Receptor-binding Region on Pigment Epithelium-derived Factor. J Biol Chem. 2015;290(42):25241-53.
Subramanian P, Locatelli-Hoops S, Kenealey J, DesJardin J, Notari L, Becerra SP. Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) prevents retinal cell death via PEDF Receptor (PEDF-R): identification of a functional ligand binding site. J Biol Chem. 2013;288(33):23928-42.
Related Scientific Focus Areas
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
This page was last updated on September 21st, 2018