Burlingame and Gross labs shed light on braking mechanisms in cellular signaling

How do cells that must respond rapidly and robustly to changes in the environment subsequently modulate that response so such elevated activity doesn’t prove harmful? Put another way: How do cells put the brakes on their response to external signaling in order to re-stabilize themselves?

The laboratories of School faculty members Al Burlingame, PhD, and John Gross, PhD, in collaboration with researchers at UC Berkeley, the Plant Gene Expression Center, and the Carnegie Institution for Science, have identified a novel bimolecular mechanism by which a plant often used as an experimental model, Arabidopsis, combines acceleration and restraint as its seedlings emerge from underground darkness into sunlight.

The researchers’ discovery, reported in the June 6, 2014 issue of Science, has potential implications ranging from agricultural use to cancer research. Burlingame and Gross are faculty members in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Co-lead author Shou-Ling Xu, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow in the department’s mass spectrometry facility.



School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, PharmD Degree Program, CCB, Biophysics

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.