Claire Cato

Ph.D. Student
Mentors: Dr. John Tesmer and Dr. Janet Smith

Areas of Interest

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) orchestrate many physiological processes, ranging from vision, smell, and taste to changes in heart rate and blood pressure, by translating extracellular signals into intracellular responses. GPCR kinases (GRKs) are involved in regulating the duration of the signal transduction pathway by desensitizing GPCRs. The interaction between GPCRs and GRKs has not been well characterized since crystallization of a GPCR-GRK complex has been unsuccessful, perhaps because both proteins are highly dynamic. Through the use of ATP-competitive small molecule GRK inhibitors, we hope to stabilize and crystallize a GPCR-GRK complex in order to gain a deeper understanding of GPCR phosphorylation by GRKs. This information may provide insight into the molecular basis for diseases that are caused by dysregulation of GPCR-mediated signal transduction pathways.


2013 Annual Beckman Symposium Invited Student Speaker, Irvine, CA, July 2013.  “Structural analysis of DNA glycosylase activity in two paralogs from Schizosaccharomyces pombe

Honors & Awards

Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program (2015-2016)

Published Articles or Reviews

Adhikary, S, Cato, MC, McGary, KL, Rokas, A, Eichman, BF. Non-productive DNA damage binding by DNA glycosylase-like protein Mag2 from Schizosaccharomyces pombe. DNA Repair, 196-204 (2012).

Le TM, Jiang H, Cunningham GR, Magarik JA, Barge WS, Cato MC, Farina M, Rocha JB, Milatovic D, Lee E, Aschner M, Summar ML. gamma-Glutamylcysteine ameliorates oxidative injury in neurons and astrocytes in vitro and increases brain glutathione in vivo. Neurotoxicology, 518-525 (2011).