The Chicago Laminome Project

Type of Award: Spark
Date Awarded: November 2008
Award End Date: October 2010
Amount Awarded: $ 400,000.00
PI(s): Robert Goldman, NU; Jonathan Widom, NU; Stephen Kron, UChicago; Harindar Sighn, UChicago; Elizabeth McNally, UChicago;

Abstract: The nuclear lamins are members of one of the largest families of proteins. Lamins form mesh-like networks within the nucleus, providing a molecular interface, the lamina, between the membranes surrounding the nucleus and the chromosomes contained inside. In recent years the lamins have been shown to be major components of an extensive regulatory network involved in a wide range of functions, including the control of components of an extensive regulatory network involved in a wide range of functions, including the control of nuclear architecture, the organization, positioning and structure of chromosomes, gene expression, and DNA replication and repair. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these functions remain largely unknown. There are three lamin genes in humans. Remarkably, over 300 mutations have been identified in one of the human lamin genes, causing nearly 20 different diseases. The lamin A/C gene is one of the most highly mutated genes in humans and is unique for its association with the most diverse disease phenotypes. There is an emerging hypothesis that lamins serve a critical role in the maintenance of cell identity and integrity via regulated protein-protein interactions and associations with specific chromosome structures.

The Chicago Laminome Project is a comprehensive approach to understanding lamins in health and disease via tools of systems biology. The City of Chicago had a unique set of internationally recognized leaders who have studied lamins, chromosome structure and function, and proteomics. The Chicago Laminome Project will bring this multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary group together to study the roles of lamins and lamina structure, with the longer term goal of making the Chicago area a widely-recognized center of leadership in this important field of study.