Elucidation of the structure and function of corticotropin releasing factor receptors
Greece (HelMSIC) - University of Crete, Heraklion
Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Crete
Dr. K. Thermos
Dr. G. Liapakis
4 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
No No No No Yes No Yes No No No No No
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
The 41-amino-acid peptide corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) plays a key role in the response of our body to stressful stimuli and the maintenance of homeostasis. These effects are mostly mediated by its type 1 receptor (CRF1R). Malfunctioning of CRF/CRF1R-neuronal circuits is closely associated with the appearance of anxiety and depression, whereas small non-peptide CRF1R antagonists have been shown to be effective against these neuropsychiatric disorders. The CRF1R is a class B G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR), which contains seven alpha helical transmembrane domains (TMs), three extracellular loops (ELs), three intracellular loops (ILs), a carboxyl-terminal intracellular region and an extracellular amino-terminal region (N-domain).

CRF and its related peptides bind to extracellular regions and activate the CRF1R. Receptor activation-associated conformational changes are responsible for the stimulation of G-proteins and production of a biological effect.

We aim to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying ligand binding and receptor activation.

We use various techniques to study the structure and function of the CRF1R, such as cell culture, ligand binding studies, cAMP accumulation studies, molecular biology techniques, including site-directed mutagenesis, and a variety of biochemical approaches including the cysteine substituted accessibility method (SCAM).
What is the aim of the project?
What techniques and methods are used?
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- If the project includes “lab work”
- the student will take active part in the practical aspect of the project
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will be involved in various molecular biology techniques
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Yes, if requested by the student
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a scientific report
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Basic knowledge on Pharmacodynamics is needed.

We expect from the student to learn basic concepts of Molecular Pharmacology and Structural biology, participate in the lab meetings and learn at least one technique.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
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