Konark Mukherjee’s work on CASK garners attention in recent Science article

Konark Mukherjee
Konark Mukherjee, PhD, assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Experimental results obtained in the laboratory of Konark Mukherjee, an assistant professor at VTC Research Institute, were recently mentioned in the journal Science. A supporting article of a molecular biology News Focus details the emerging view that so-called pseudoenzymes – apparent duds of the molecular biology world – might not be as inert as they first appeared. Many experiments are showing that they play important roles such as helping catalytic enzymes into their functional shapes, providing platforms for proteins to mingle, and escorting proteins to new locations.

The supporting piece “Dead or Alive?” details recent research into two such pseudoenzymes, one of which is CASK, a protein found in neurons that has been a focal point of Mukherjee’s research. The article first mentions an effort by Mukherjee’s laboratory to determine the crystal structure of CASK, which revealed that the protein can use alternative amino acids to instigate kinase reactions. It also points to a 2008 Cell study that Mukherjee authored in which he provides evidence from test-tube experiments that suggests CASK serves as a weak catalyst.