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K-State Today

November 3, 2014

Schrick's publication recommended for Faculty of 1000

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kathrin Schrick, assistant professor in the Division of Biology, is the lead investigator on a publication that has been recommended by the Faculty of 1000 for special significance in its field. The Faculty of 1000 is an international group of biomedical scientists that designate new research articles for potential high impact.

The publication, "Shared functions of plant and mammalian StAR-related lipid transfer (START) domains in modulating transcription factor activity," was originally published in the August issue of BMC Biology.

Vitaly Citovsky, distinguished professor in the department of biochemistry and cell biology at Stony Brook University in New York, recommended the publication for the honor.

"These data substantially advance our knowledge of START domain proteins as transcription factors," Citovsky said in his recommendation.

Schrick and her research team found that a protein domain from plants is functionally similar to the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, which binds cholesterol and shuttles it into the mitochondria of mammalian cells.

The plant transcription factors studied by the team are key regulators of the epidermis, or the outside layer of the plant that protects against ultraviolet radiation and water loss. Understanding the role that START domains have in transcription factors may enable scientists to develop more drought tolerant plants, as well as understand more about cancer progression.

"In humans, START domains occur in signaling proteins and a misexpression of several of these have been observed in tumor cells from breast and colon cancers," Schrick said. "A general role for START domains may be to link lipid metabolism to cell division in both mammals and plants."

Schrick worked with researchers at Stanford University and at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research in New Delhi for the study.

"In addition to contributing new information in the area of plant science, this work sheds light on the role of START domains in humans and other organisms," Schrick said.