Sekar Ramachandran

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Rho GTPases impact a number of activities important for oncogenesis. We describe a small molecule inhibitor that blocks oncogenic transformation induced by various Rho GTPases in fibroblasts, and the growth of human breast cancer and B lymphoma cells, without affecting normal cells. We identify the target of this inhibitor to be the metabolic enzyme(More)
One hallmark of cancer cells is their adaptation to rely upon an altered metabolic scheme that includes changes in the glycolytic pathway, known as the Warburg effect, and elevated glutamine metabolism. Glutaminase, a mitochondrial enzyme, plays a key role in the metabolism of glutamine in cancer cells, and its inhibition could significantly impact(More)
GTP-binding (G) proteins regulate the flow of information in cellular signaling pathways by alternating between a GTP-bound "active" state and a GDP-bound "inactive" state. Cdc42, a member of the Rho family of Ras-related small G-proteins, plays key roles in the regulation of cell shape, motility, and growth. Here we describe the high resolution x-ray(More)
The mitochondrial enzyme glutaminase C (GAC) catalyzes the hydrolysis of glutamine to glutamate plus ammonia, a key step in the metabolism of glutamine by cancer cells. Recently, we discovered a class of allosteric inhibitors of GAC that inhibit cancer cell growth without affecting their normal cellular counterparts, with the lead compound being the(More)
The GDP-GTP exchange activity of the retinal G protein, transducin, is markedly accelerated by the photoreceptor rhodopsin in the first step of visual transduction. The x-ray structures for the alpha subunits of transducin (alpha(T)) and other G proteins suggest that the nucleotide-binding (Ras-like) domain and a large helical domain form a "clam shell"(More)
Guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) activate Rho GTPases by catalyzing the exchange of bound GDP for GTP, thereby resulting in downstream effector recognition. Two metazoan families of GEFs have been described: Dbl-GEF family members that share conserved Dbl homology (DH) and Pleckstrin homology (PH) domains and the more recently described Dock180(More)
Glutaminase C is a key metabolic enzyme, which is unregulated in many cancer systems and believed to play a central role in the Warburg effect, whereby cancer cells undergo changes to an altered metabolic profile. A long-standing hypothesis links enzymatic activity to the protein oligomeric state, hence the study of the solution behavior in general and the(More)
Transcription activation of the proapoptotic target genes is a means by which the p53 protein implements its function of tumor suppression. Zn(2+) is a known regulator of p53 binding to the target genes. We have previously obtained an evidence that amino acid substitutions in the p53 Zn(2+)-binding pocket can presumably exert an influence on Zn(2+) position(More)
The GTP hydrolytic (GTPase) reaction terminates signaling by both large (heterotrimeric) and small (Ras-related) GTP-binding proteins (G proteins). Two residues that are necessary for GTPase activity are an arginine (often called the "arginine finger") found either in the Switch I domains of the alpha subunits of large G proteins or contributed by the(More)