These projects study hIAPP (human islet amyloid polypeptide, also called amylin) that is a misfolding peptide involved in Type II diabetes. Like other misfolding peptides, hIAPP is generally unstructured in water but adopts an alpha-helix structure (a right-handed spiral) when it binds to the cellular membrane. Around 95% of patients with Type II diabetes exhibit large deposits of misfolded hIAPP, clumped in a structure known as a beta sheet. Experiments show that this hIAPP aggregation can induce apoptotic cell-death in insulin-producing beta cells, an effect that may be relevant to the development of type 2 diabetes. We aim to understand the pathway of hIAPP aggregation in order to design drugs to prevent it.
List of Contributors
This project is managed by Prof. Xuhui Huang at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
The main goal of the Huang lab is to understand and manipulate fundamental biological processes associated with conformational changes by developing and applying novel computational tools which bridge the gap between experiments and simulations. Examples of our interested research areas include RNA folding, protein misfolding/aggregration, conformational changes in Transcription Elongation, and the development of Markov State Models for long timescale dynamics. We have set up a hub for Folding@Home in Asia.
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