Grace Usher was just selected for the Student Research Achievement Award at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society. She won the student poster award in the Intrinsically Disordered Protein category for her poster “Characteristics of the Binding Interaction Between SPOP and Pdx1.”
Pdx1 is a transcription factor that is essential for control of
pancreatic beta cell function in general and the production of insulin in specific. Pancreatic beta cells are very fragile, and so to maintain pancreatic health Pdx1 levels are tightly regulated in response to both glucose and insulin levels. Grace’s combination of structural biology an mechanistic studies have clarified how the regulatory protein SPOP targets Pdx1 for ubiquitin-mediated degradation under low glucose conditions.