Blake Mertz

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Rhodopsin has served as the primary model for studying G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs)-the largest group in the human genome, and consequently a primary target for pharmaceutical development. Understanding the functions and activation mechanisms of GPCRs has proven to be extraordinarily difficult, as they are part of a complex signaling cascade and(More)
Rhodopsin is a well-characterized structural model of a G protein-coupled receptor. Photoisomerization of the covalently bound retinal triggers activation. Surprisingly, the x-ray crystal structure of the active Meta-II state has a 180° rotation about the long-axis of the retinal polyene chain. Unbiased microsecond-timescale all-atom molecular dynamics(More)
Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a protein tyrosine kinase that is ubiquitously expressed, recruited to focal adhesions, and engages in a variety of cellular signaling pathways. Diverse cellular responses, such as cell migration, proliferation, and survival, are regulated by FAK. Prior to activation, FAK adopts an autoinhibited conformation in which the FERM(More)
Rhodopsin, the mammalian dim light photoreceptor, is the canonical model for G protein-coupled receptors. Activation of rhodopsin occurs when the covalently bound inverse agonist, retinal, absorbs a photon and undergoes an 11-cis to all-trans isomerization. Two critical components of the visual cycle occur with the (1) hydrolytic release of all-trans(More)
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