11 months ago

2013 Scientific Report

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VARI | 2013 In addition, Scott Jewell received several major contracts for the Program for Biospecimen Science, including one for “Research Studies in Cancer and Normal Tissue Acquisition and Processing Variables”. The Program for Biospecimen Science also became one of only seven biorepositories in the nation accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of an on-site inspection as part of the CAP Accreditation Program. VARI has announced an agreement with Dako, the Danish-based, worldwide supplier of cancer diagnostic tools, to license, manufacture, and distribute cancer diagnostics utilizing the MET4 antibody. This antibody, which detects the MET gene in human tumors, works exceptionally well in classical diagnostic procedures. MET4 was developed by the laboratories of George F. Vande Woude and Brian Cao of VARI and Beatrice Knudsen, formerly of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Among VARI research publications in 2012 was “Molecular mimicry regulates ABA signaling by SnRK2 kinases and PP2C phosphatases”, co-authored by Fen-Fen Soon, Karsten Melcher, and Eric Xu and published in a January 2012 edition of Science. Abscisic acid (ABA) is a crucial plant hormone involved in stress adaptation. Activation of the signaling pathway for ABA includes the phosphorylation of pathway proteins by a SnRK kinase. In this paper, the authors determined that the SnRK kinase is turned off by the direct binding of the kinase activation loop into the catalytic cleft of a PP2C phosphatase as part of a two-step inactivation mechanism. The kinase is turned on when it is displaced from the phosphatase by the ABA hormone receptor complex. That displacement is the result of the similarity in PP2C recognition between the kinase molecule and the complex, which allows facile regulation of the kinase’s activity. This study provides a new paradigm of kinase–phosphatase regulation. Thanks to the achievements of new and existing programs, Van Andel Institute anticipates the continued growth and success of its research programs into cancer and neurodegenerative disease in 2013 and beyond. This growing intellectual capital complements the expansion of the Institute’s state-of-the-art facilities. At full capacity, Phase II will support a 5 million annual research operation that will expand the number of laboratories to more than 50 and provide some 550 additional jobs. Such growth is made possible, in part, by the Institute’s wide network of dedicated supporters. Thanks to the generous endowment of the Van Andel family, 100% of donor contributions go directly to the laboratories where VARI scientists seek discoveries leading to improved treatments for patients. That’s 100% to Research, Discovery, and Hope! 3

Van Andel Research Institute | Scientific Report 4

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