PHA/ATS Proof of Concept Research Grant Winner 2014
Fiona Murray, PhD
Senior Lecturer, School of Medical Sciences
University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
Title: “A novel G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) target in pulmonary arterial hypertension”
Summary of Research Project:
Pulmonary arterial hypertension is associated with a thickening in the walls of the blood vessels in the lung, which blocks the flow of blood. The maintenance of the normal, low blood pressure in the lung is dependent on the interaction of circulating and locally produced mediators in the blood, many of which act via cell surface proteins called G protein-coupled receptors. The accessibility of these proteins on the cell surface and their tissue-selective distribution make them excellent drug targets: more than 30% of current approved drugs target G protein-coupled receptors. Despite the large number of physiological responses that G protein-coupled receptors regulate a limited number of them are currently targeted in PAH. Dr. Murray and her team have uncovered a “novel” (not previously recognized) G protein-coupled receptor that is expressed in cells from the blood vessels of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension, that is not present in patients with normal pulmonary artery pressure. Dr. Murray plans to use using cutting edge molecular, biochemical and pharmacological approaches both in vitro and in vivo to confirm that this novel G protein-coupled receptor contributes to the progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension and blocking its activity would inhibit high blood pressure in the lung. By defining the expression and function of this G protein-coupled receptor in pulmonary arterial hypertension, Dr. Murray seeks to unravel aspects of the causes of the disease and identify a novel target for new therapies.