Vaithish Velazhahan is a Sidney Gates Scholar and PhD student in the Tate group at the MCR Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB), and his most recent work has been published in the journal Nature.

The work is focused on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) found in fungi, which regulate fungal survival and reproduction.

This research holds huge implications with fungal diseases like invasive candidiasis and pulmonary aspergillosis being a major disease burden worldwide and causing life-threatening conditions in humans.  In addition, they can threaten global food supply through crop infection.  An improved understanding of fungal GPCRs is vital to tackling these issues.

GPCRs are also critical to drug development because of their wide-ranging cellular functions, and approximately one third of all FDA-approved drugs target them.

This work was funded by UKRI MRC, the Gates Cambridge Trust, and the National Institutes of Health.

References for peer-reviewed research

Velazhahan, V., Ma, N., Vaidehi, N. et al. Activation mechanism of the class D fungal GPCR dimer Ste2. Nature 603, 743–748 (2022). [open access]

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