Professor, University of New Mexico
Although praziquantel (PZQ) has been used to treat schistosomiasis for over 30 years its mechanism of action remains a mystery. There is a strong body of evidence that suggests PZQ acts directly on voltage gated calcium channels by interacting with a beta subunit protein associated with the channel complex whose phylogenetic distribution is restricted to the Platyhelminthes. During my sabbatical year at UCSF I will focus on producing a recombinant form of this protein as well as the more widespread conventional form of the subunit from E.coli. I will use these recombinant proteins to compare their structures through X-ray crystallography and as the target for binding experiments with PZQ.