Centre for Vascular Research, University of Sydney
Lab head: Professor Roland Stocker
Location: Medical Foundation Building (K25)
The research program in our laboratory focuses on oxidative processes in vascular medicine.
Funding: NHMRC & ARC
Functional regulating of vascular cells by heme oxygenase-1
Primary supervisor: Roland Stocker
Atherosclerosis is a major cause of heart attacks and stroke in Australia. There is an urgent need to develop novel drugs with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties to both prevent the progression of the disease and to help repair any damage to the vessel after it has occurred. Our group identified the protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) as a target of an anti-atherosclerotic drug. In animals, the induction of HO-1 protects against vascular disease by inhibiting the excessive proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, while promoting the growth of endothelial cells. The underlying mechanism by which HO‑1 regulates vascular cell growth and behavior remains to be elucidated. However, recent studies in our group suggest that this involves both enzymatic activity and post-translational modification of the protein. The latter is associated with appearance of a lower molecular weight form of HO‑1 and its relocation from the endoplasmatic reticulum to the nucleus.
This project will investigate the functional role of ‘truncated’ HO‑1 in vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells, with a focus on the regulation of cell growth. The techniques involved will include cell culture, Western blotting, flow cytometry and protein chemistry.
Co-supervisors: Robyn Midwinter
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, cellular signalling
Contact: Email Roland Stocker