Can we target blood vessel contraction to treat high blood pressure?

Role of the PIP2-binding protein MARCKS on voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and vascular contractility

Anthony Albert (lead researcher)

St George's, University of London

Start date: 01 October 2015 (Duration 3 years)

Supervised by Dr Anthony Albert, this PhD student is studying the molecular processes controlling blood vessel contraction and high blood pressure.

If muscle cells within blood vessel walls contract too much, this can cause high blood pressure, increasing the risk of people having angina, heart attacks and strokes. Proteins called voltage-gated calcium channels are found on the surface of cells. These proteins allow calcium in and out of the cells, which controls blood vessel constriction.

Understanding how these channels are controlled may reveal new targets for new drugs to treat high blood pressure.

Dr Albert has identified a new protein, called MARCKS, which is important for controlling how blood vessel muscle cells work. They have found that interactions between MARCKS and another protein called PIP2 are important for calcium channels to work properly and for the control of blood vessel constriction. In this project, the student will find out how MARCKS works in mice and how it affects blood vessel muscle cells.

Understanding how blood vessel muscle cells work may help to develop new treatments for people with high blood pressure, which could have a dramatic impact on people's lives.

Project details

Grant amount £114,469
Grant type Fellowship
Application type PhD Studentship
Start Date 01 October 2015
Duration 3 years
Reference FS/15/44/31570
Status In progress

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