MRC Protein Phosphorylation & Ubiquitylation Unit

Therapeutic Approaches: Small Molecules, Biomarkers, Antibodies, Stem Cells

Therapeutic Areas of Expertise: Cardiology, Immunology, Infectious Diseases, Metabolic Disorders, Neurological Disorders, Oncology, Regenerative Medicine

Center/Program Highlights: The MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (PPU) is a major research centre that focuses on the understanding of the biological roles of phosphorylation and ubiquitylation and how disruption of these processes cause human diseases such as neurodegeneration, cancer, hypertension and immune disorders. The ultimate goal of the Units research programmes is to help develop new improved strategies to treat disease.

A vital asset of the MRC-PPU is the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) which was established in 1998. This division operates as a unique collaboration between scientists in the MRC-PPU, signalling researchers at the University of Dundees College of Life Sciences and six of the worlds leading pharmaceutical companies -- AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Merck Serono and Pfizer.

The DSTT is widely regarded as a model for how academia should interact with industry.This collaboration agreement has been renewed for the period 2012-2016 and currently focuses on mammalian protein kinases and the ubiquitylation system. Its main aim is to help accelerate the development of future drugs that target specific phosphorylation and ubiquitylation systems for the improved treatment of disease. A key remit of our research is to help define and validate new drug targets with the aim of obtaining sufficiently convincing results to persuade pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs against these targets. Our Unit also helps generate reagents that will help the DSTT companies set up screens to identify and characterise inhibitors. Participating companies have access to our unpublished results, technology, expertise and reagents, as well as first rights to license our intellectual property.

The MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit at Dundee pioneered analysis of the selectivity of protein kinase inhibitors by setting up the first service to tackle this problem in 1998. This procedure, termed "kinase profiling" proved to be of great help to the pharmaceutical industry, speeding up the development of specific protein kinase inhibitors with therapeutic potential. Working with leading experts from Pharma, we have implemented the industry level of standard operating procedures that guide all our services. Since 1998, we have collaborated with 8 different large pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Merck-Serono, Astrazeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Novo-Nordisk and Merck & Co. We offer this service world-wide to scientists in both academia and industry:

Our aim for the MRC-PPU is to operate as one of the worlds leading centers for the investigation of signal transduction pathways involving protein phosphorylation and ubiquitylation networks. We are also keen to make our range of essential resources and services available to aide with worldwide research in this area. To this end, we have decided to set up a simple user-friendly, web-based system whereby not-for-profit research groups can request clones, antibodies and proteins our unit possesses. These can be accessed via:

Sources of Funding: Federal/State, Philanthropy, Industry Partnerships, Disease Foundations, University, Revenue


Institutional Affiliation(s): The University of Dundee

The University of Dundee
Sir James Black Centre, Dow Street
Scotland, DD1 5EH
United Kingdom

Center/Program Start Date: 1990

Number of Employees: 270