Speaker: Prof. Jin ZHANG

Time: 2:30-4:00 PM, 6 Mar. , 2024

Venue: Room 111, Lynn Library

Spatial organization of cAMP signaling by PKA RIα condensates

Topic: Spatial organization of cAMP signaling by PKA RIα condensates

Speaker: Prof. Jin ZHANG

Time: 2:30-4:00 PM, 6 Mar. , 2024

Venue: Room 111, Lynn Library


The fidelity of intracellular signaling hinges on the organization of dynamic activity architectures. Spatial compartmentation was first proposed over 30 years ago to explain how diverse G protein-coupled receptors achieve specificity despite converging on a ubiquitous messenger, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). However, the mechanisms responsible for spatially constraining this diffusible messenger remain elusive. We show that the type I regulatory subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), RIα, undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) as a function of cAMP signaling to form biomolecular condensates enriched in cAMP and PKA activity, critical for effective cAMP compartmentation. In this talk, I will discuss the molecular determinants, signaling impact and disease relevance of RIα LLPS.



Dr. Jin Zhang received her Bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University in 1995 and her PhD in Chemistry from University of Chicago in 2000.  After completing her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of the late Roger Tsien at UC San Diego, she joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2003. She was promoted to Professor of Pharmacology in 2013. In 2015 she moved back to UC San Diego and is currently Professor and vice Chair in Department of Pharmacology. Research in her lab focuses on developing enabling technologies to probe the active molecules in their native environment and characterizing how these active molecules change in diseases including cancer. Dr Zhang is a recipient of the Biophysical Society Margaret Oakley Dayhoff Award (2009), NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2009), John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology (2012), Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry (2012), NCI Outstanding Investigator Award (2015 and 2022), Robert R. Ruffolo Career Achievement Award in Pharmacology (2022), Protein Society Christian B. Anfinsen Award (2022) and Biophysical Society Carolyn Cohen Innovation Award from (2023). She was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014, a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2019 and a Fellow of American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics in 2021. Dr. Zhang also received UC San Diego Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Scholar Mentoring in 2019 and UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Mentoring Award in 2022.

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