February 2010

Tesmer Wins ASBMB Young Investigator Award

Sprang, currently a professor and director of the Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics at the University of Montana, agrees wholeheartedly. “Tesmer was among the most productive and creative postdoctoral fellows with whom I have had the honor to work,” he said. “Since he began his independent career as a junior faculty member at UT-Austin, and now at the University of Michigan, John has become a recognized leader in the structural biology of G protein signaling. Indeed, I would say with confidence that he is currently the most productive structural biologist working in this area.”

Today, Tesmer, who always has been scientifically intrigued by the processes by which cells sense extracellular signals, channels that productivity to determine various structures of signaling proteins regulated by heterotrimeric G proteins, particularly those that contain RGS homology (RH) domains.

Two of his favorite targets are GRK2, a kinase that is important for myocardiogenesis and regulation of heart contractility (for which he recently determined the atomic structure of GRK2 in complex with Gβγ) and leukemia-associated RhoGEF, or LARG, a protein that activates RhoA and thus represents one of the few well-defined links between heterotrimeric G proteins and small-molecular-weight G proteins. His group is currently working on determining the atomic structures of various fragments and complexes of LARG to better understand the mechanism of signal transduction from Gα13 to RhoA.

The 2010 ASBMB Young Investigator Award will add to the impressive honors already bestowed on this young and exciting researcher, including the Lyndon B. Johnson Research Award from the American Heart Association in 2000, a Cottrell Research Scholar award in 2002 and the University of Texas College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2004.

Angela Hopp (ahopp@asbmb.org) is managing editor for special projects at ASBMB. Nick Zagorski (nzagorski@asbmb.org) is a science writer at ASBMB.

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