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Roger Sunahara

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Primary Appointment:
Other PIBS Depts.: Biophysics
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  Our laboratory is primarily interested in the elucidation of the molecular mechanism my which hormones activate G protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs).
We utilize biochemical and biophysical approaches to delineate how hormone binding to these cell surface receptors leads to activation of G proteins. G protein-coupled receptors represent the largest family of membrane proteins in the human genome and the third largest family of genes overall. The diversity of this family of 7 transmembrane domain proteins and their importance in cellular signaling make GPCRs optimal targets for therapeutics. Indeed, the majority of all therapeutics currently marketed target this family of membrane-bound receptors. The development of more efficacious and selective therapeutics that target GPCRs continues to be a major effort in the pharmaceutical industry. A detailed understanding of the function and structure of hormone and therapeutic binding sites will lead to the development of more potent and selective therapeutics.