Understanding the divergence and adaptation of protein kinases in apicomplexan parasites
Apicomplexa is an evolutionary divergent phylum of eukaryotic pathogens responsible for human and agricultural diseases. Many cellular functions in apicomplexans are controlled by protein kinases, which have emerged as promising targets for infectious diseases. We are interested in understanding how parasitic kinases structurally and mechanistically differ from their eukaryotic hosts. To this end, we are systematically identifying and classifying kinase sequences in apicomplexan genomes and performing quantitative comparisons of parasite and host kinase sequences and structures. We are also involved in various collaborative efforts to identify and characterize apicomplexan protein kinase substrates.