Gregg Morin

Associate Professor

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Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2020)
Method development and proteomics applications of nonaqueous capillary electrophoresis – mass spectrometry (2020)

Capillary electrophoresis (CE) is known for its low sample consumption, high-resolution efficiency as a separation technique, while mass spectrometry (MS) provides unprecedented selectivity and sensitivity as a detector, while adding another dimension in separation. The development of a robust CE-MS interface makes it possible to combine these two technologies for the analysis of many types of compounds. However, the coupling of CE to MS reduces its usable electrolyte ingredients substantially, and many of the popular buffer systems based on phosphate or borate, the MEKC methods dependent on the use of non-volatile surfactants, have to be excluded. As a result, formic acid and acetate buffers are the most widely used background electrolytes (BGEs) in CE-MS. In this work, we used mainly organic solvent systems to expand the choices of BGEs for CE-MS. In chapters 2 and 3, we presented two quantitative 100 % nonaqueous CE-MS methods for the separation and determination of small hydrophobic molecules. Two different BGEs were developed in this part: a basic buffer system for the analysis of negatively charged compounds and an acidic buffer system for the analysis of positively charged compounds. The compounds studied are three anthraquinones extracted from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Rhubarb, and six synthesized hydrophobic peptides, respectively. A high-organic-content CE-MS (HOCE) method was developed for the proteomics analysis of envelope proteins. A field amplified sample stacking technique was optimized to improve the concentration sensitivity of CE-MS for samples containing a large number of different analytes. The introduction of methanol into the buffer increased the performance of CE-MS for the detection of hydrophobic peptides in complex proteins digest. A half organic CE-MS method was used for the sequencing of novel mAbs. It was demonstrated that CE-MS/MS provided highly complementary information to LC-MS/MS with much less sample consumption. The last part of this thesis describes the application of a new generation mass spectrometry, timsTOF Pro connected with LC for the site-specific O-glycomics. In TIMS, charged compounds were separated based on their differential sizes and charges, similar to CE. The results suggest that combining CE-MS for PTMs analysis can be even more productive in the future.

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Investigation of Novel Schizophrenia Candidate Genes through Biochemical and Computational Methods (2010)

No abstract available.

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Identification and Validation of CDK13 Interacting Proteins (2012)

Cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) are components of signal transduction pathways that regulate cellular functions by phosphorylation of substrate proteins in response to upstream signals. The kinase domains of CDK12 and CDK13 are most similar to CDK9; CDK9 phosphorylates the C terminal domain (CTD) of RNA Polymerase II in order to stimulate processive transcription elongation. However, while most human CDKs consist of little more than a kinase domain, CDK12 and CDK13 are much larger and have several protein-protein interaction domains suggesting that they could participate within regulatory cascades. They also have a RS domain found in the SR protein family of splicing factors. Consistent with these features CDK12 and CDK13 co-localize with splicing factors and RNA Polymerase II in nuclear speckles. Based on these features CDK12 and CDK13 have been proposed to coordinately regulate splicing and transcription. Consistent with this hypothesis, both kinases phosphorylate the CTD of RNA polymerase II and regulate the alternative splicing of the Adenovirus E1a mini-gene model substrate. CDK12 has been found to interact with the splicing factors PRP19, CDC5L, RBM25, FBP11 and SRP55. Due to the similarity of CDK13 to CDK12, I investigated the interacting partners of CDK13 by immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry and determined that CDK13 interacts with same splicing factors as CDK12. These interactions were validated by immunoprecipitation – western blot analysis. My results also indicated that PRP19 and CDC5L interact as a complex with CDK13. Therefore, the protein interaction partners of CDK13 and CDK12 suggest functional mechanisms for their ability to regulate splicing. In parallel projects, to begin investigating the functional roles of the kinase domain of CDK12 I constructed and expressed different CDK12 mutants in insect cells and in mammalian cells. Also to investigate the role of the CDK12 mutants and the protein-protein interactions of CDK13 in alternative splicing, I also developed a PCR based E1A mini-gene splicing assay.

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