[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/104800]
Dr Mark Gibson
Brief description Elastic fibres are important in tissues such as arteries, lung and skin where they provide elasticity. Disruption of their normal structure and function is a major aspect of common diseases such as atherosclerosis, aneurisms, heart valve prolapse, emphysema, and the congenital disorder, Marfan syndrome. Elastic fibres consist of a core of the protein elastin surrounded by 12 nm glycoprotein microfibrils. During development the microfibrils always appear before the elastin and seem to act as a scaffold for the deposition of its precursor, tropoelastin. However knowledge of the role of each glycoprotein in the assembly, architecture, function and cell biology of microfibrils and elastic fibres is still very limited. Our laboratory has identified, cloned and characterised several microfibrillar proteins and we are uniquely placed to exploit our expertise and unique range of research tools to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the above processes. The Specific Aims are to determine a) the roles of individual components and associated proteins in microfibril and elastic fibre biology b) the architecture of microfibrils and the relationship of their structural heterogeneity to function during tissue development, c) the mechanisms responsible for microfibril and elastic fibre assembly, and other microfibril interactions with the cell surface, d) the gene regulatory mechanisms controlling expression of individual microfibrillar proteins and e) causative mutations of non-fibrillin genes in Marfan-like congenital disorders. The research will greatly increase our fundamental knowledge of the factors controlling the complex molecular mechanisms involved in microfibril assembly and elastic fibre formation, including the roles of individual microfibril-associated proteins, cell surface receptors, cellular processing, and gene regulation of these processes during normal development, which is essential before the full role of elastic fibres in major diseases can be understood.
Funding Amount $AUD 619,721.82
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project with Research Fellowship