Cell signaling through protein glycosylation, using chemical, biochemical and cell biological methods.
The long-term goal of the Boyce lab is to understand the role of protein glycosylation in mammalian cell signaling and physiology. Protein glycosylation is the most abundant post-translational modification in nature and, as a sugar-based modification, it lies at the nexus of cell signaling and cell metabolism. However, because glycosylation is a dynamic and non-templated process, it can be difficult to study using conventional biological techniques alone. Our lab uses a range of biochemical, cell and chemical biological methods to dissect the role of protein glycosylation in mammals. Specifically, we focus on two distinct forms of glycosylation. First, we aim to understand how the dynamic signaling by ß-N-acetylglucosamine on intracellular proteins senses and regulates cell metabolism. Second, we aim to understand how the quality control machinery in the ER and Golgi senses mis-glycosylated proteins in the secretory pathway, and how the cell copes with this form of stress in health and disease.