Larry Tobacman

    Email Address:
    College: Medicine Department: Physiology and Biophysics
    Office: 901 CSB M/C 787 Phone: 4131010

    Research Interest:
    Regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle contraction by troponin and tropomyosin

    Each heartbeat, each finger-strike of a computer key is directly controlled where myosin binds to actin: on troponin- tropomyosin regulated thin filaments. The Tobacman laboratory investigates this regulation by multi-disciplinary examination of the thin filament, in solution and in the sarcomere, applying both functional and structural approaches. Cooperative activation of muscle contraction is attributable to transitions among thin filament quaternary structures, and to the effects of ligands (calcium, myosin) on these transitions. By experiment and by calculation, using biophysics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and structural biology, we seek mechanistic insights into these phenomena. Additionally, contractile protein mutations that cause inherited heart disease are under investigation. Depending upon the mutation, affected kindreds experience dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or mild hypertrophy with a high risk of sudden death. We study cardiomyopathic thin filament proteins, both to understand basic aspects of disease pathogenesis, and also as tools to investigate the structure and function of these molecules.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week:

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Flexible, but the more scientific courses completed, the better.

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