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Title: Developing a computational approach to investigate the impacts of disease-causing mutations on protein function
Author: Pang, Camilla Sih Mai
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 9731
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This project uses bioinformatics protocols to explore the impacts of non-synonymous mutations (nsSNPs) in proteins associated with diseases, including germline, rare diseases and somatic diseases such as cancer. New approaches were explored for determining the impacts of disease-associated mutations on protein structure and function. Whilst this work has mainly concentrated on the analysis of cancer mutations, the methods developed are generic and could be applied to analysing other types of disease mutations. Different types of disease-causing mutations have been studied including germline diseases, somatic cancer mutations in oncogenes and tumour-suppressors, along with known activating and inactivating mutations in kinases. The proximity of disease-associated mutations has been analysed with respect to known functional sites reported by CSA, IBIS, along with predicted functional sites derived from the CATH classification of domain structure superfamilies. The latter are called FunSites, and are highly conserved residues within a CATH functional family (FunFam) – which is a functionally coherent subset of a CATH superfamily. Such sites include key catalytic residues as well as specificity determining residues and interface residues. Clear differences were found between oncogenes, tumour suppressor and germ-line mutations with oncogene mutations more likely to locate close to FunSites. Functional families that are highly enriched in disease mutations were identified and exploited structural data to identify clusters within proteins in these families that are enriched in mutations (using our MutClust program). We examined the tendencies of these clusters to lie close to the functional sites discussed above. For selected genes, the stability effects of disease mutations in cancer have also been investigated with a particular focus on activating mutations in FGFR3. These studies, which were supported by experimental validation, showed that activating mutations implicated in cancer tend to cause stabilisation of the active FGFR3 form, leading to its abnormal activity and oncogenesis. Mutationally enriched CATH FunFams were also used in the identification of cancer driver genes, which were then subjected to pathway and GO biological process analysis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available