Indraneel Ghosh
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry-Sci
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 621-6331
Work Summary
The broad objective of our research program in Bioorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology is to construct protein therapeutics, protein mimetics, biomaterials, and biosensors. Our research at the University of Arizona is highly multidisciplinary and utilizes techniques in organic synthesis, biochemistry, molecular biology, and a host of physical characterization methods. Our research motto is simple: Unraveling mysteries and Enabling discoveries.
Research Interest
Professor Neel Ghosh, is the Emily Davis and Homer Weed Distinguished Professor ’08 at the University of Arizona. His laboratory is broadly interested in Chemical Biology and Protein Design and Engineering with a focus on developing new tools and methods for advancing human health. The laboratory has a particular current interest in understanding protein kinases and protein-protein interactions and designing new ways to inhibit them in human diseases. Neel Ghosh is also a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer for Luceome Biotechnologies. Neel received his doctoral degree in 1998 while working with Professor Jean Chmielewski at Purdue University. His doctoral research focused on designing inhibitors of protein-protein interactions and self-replicating peptides. In 1998 he joined Professor Andrew Hamilton and Professor Lynne Regan’s laboratories at Yale University as a joint postdoctoral fellow. At Yale, he discovered the first conditional split-Green Fluorescent Protein, which has been used as a means for measuring protein-protein interactions by many laboratories and the methodology is sometimes called fluorescent protein complementation. In 2001, Neel Ghosh joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor and then to the Davis & Weed Chair and Full Professor in 2011. Keywords: Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Cancer


Jester, B. W., Cox, K. J., Gaj, A., Shomin, C. D., Porter, J. R., & Ghosh, I. (2010). A coiled-coil enabled split-luciferase three-hybrid system: Applied toward profiling inhibitors of protein kinases. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 132(33), 11727-11735.

PMID: 20669947;PMCID: PMC2966823;Abstract:

The 518 protein kinases encoded in the human genome are exquisitely regulated and their aberrant function(s) are often associated with human disease. Thus, in order to advance therapeutics and to probe signal transduction cascades, there is considerable interest in the development of inhibitors that can selectively target protein kinases. However, identifying specific compounds against such a large array of protein kinases is difficult to routinely achieve utilizing traditional activity assays, where purified protein kinases are necessary. Toward a simple, rapid, and practical method for identifying specific inhibitors, we describe the development and application of a split-protein methodology utilizing a coiled-coil-assisted three-hybrid system. In this approach, a protein kinase of interest is attached to the C-terminal fragment of split-firefly luciferase and the coiled-coil Fos, which is specific for the coiled-coil Jun, is attached to the N-terminal fragment. Upon addition of Jun conjugated to a pan-kinase inhibitor such as staurosporine, a three-hybrid complex is established with concomitant reassembly of the split-luciferase enzyme. An inhibitor can be potentially identified by the commensurate loss in split-luciferase activity by displacement of the modified staurosporine. We demonstrate that this new three-hybrid approach is potentially general by testing protein kinases from the different kinase families. To interrogate whether this method allows for screening inhibitors, we tested six different protein kinases against a library of 80 known protein kinase inhibitors. Finally, we demonstrate that this three-hybrid system can potentially provide a rapid method for structure/function analysis as well as aid in the identification of allosteric inhibitors. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Restituyo, E., Camacho-Soto, K., Ghosh, I., & Derda, R. (2008). A Fragment-Based Selection Approach for the Discovery of Peptide Macrocycles Targeting Protein Kinases. PEPTIDE LIBRARIES: METHODS AND PROTOCOLS, 1248, 95-104.
Shomin, C. D., Meyer, S. C., & Ghosh, I. (2010). Staurosporine tethered peptide ligands that target cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA): Optimization and selectivity profiling. BIOORGANIC & MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY, 17(17), 6196-6202.
Ooi, A. T., Stains, C. I., Ghosh, I., & Segal, D. J. (2006). Sequence-enabled reassembly of β-lactamase (SEER-LAC): A sensitive method for the detection of double-stranded DNA. Biochemistry, 45(11), 3620-3625.

PMID: 16533044;PMCID: PMC2688710;Abstract:

This work describes the development of a new methodology for the detection of specific double-stranded DNA sequences. We previously showed that two inactive fragments of green fluorescent protein, each coupled to engineered zinc finger DNA-binding proteins, were able to reassemble an active reporter complex in the presence of a predefined DNA sequence. This system, designated sequence-enabled reassembly (SEER), was demonstrated in vitro to produce a DNA-concentration-dependent signal. Here we endow the SEER system with catalytic capability using the reporter enzyme TEM-1 β-lacatamase. This system could distinguish target DNA from nontarget DNA in less than 5 min, representing a more than 1000-fold improvement over our previous SEER design. A single base-pair substitution in the DNA binding sequence reduced the signal to nearly background levels. Substitution of a different custom zinc finger DNA-binding domain produced a signal only on the new cognate target. Signal intensity was not affected by genomic DNA when present in equal mass to the target DNA. These results present SEER as a rapid and sensitive method for the detection of double-stranded DNA sequences. © 2006 American Chemical Society.

Zhou, M., Zhou, M., Ghosh, I., & Ghosh, I. (2007). Quantum dots and peptides: a bright future together.. Biopolymers, 88(3), 325-339.

PMID: 17167795;Abstract:

Nanocrystalline semi-conductor materials, called quantum dots (QDs), exhibit unique optical and spectroscopic properties, which include, broad absorption, narrow and tunable emission, resistance to photobleaching, strong luminescence, and long luminescent lifetimes. These remarkable properties of QDs have resulted in their use as an alternative to both small-molecule and protein fluorophores in innumerable biological applications. The overlap of QDs with the rich chemistry and biology that is characteristic of the peptide arena is an emerging research area. Peptides engineered with appropriate cysteines or histidines have served as ligands for producing water soluble QDs as well as for tagging protein ligands and biosensors to QD surfaces. Incorporation of cell-penetrating peptides on QD surfaces has allowed for the translocation of functionalized QDs into cells for intracellular imaging applications. QDs containing fluorescently labeled peptide substrates have shown utility in the development of novel protease assays. Moreover, QDs-labeled peptides that serve as ligands for cellular receptors provide an alternative to antibody mediated imaging at the whole-cell and single molecule level to study receptor distribution and trafficking. This review highlights the overlap between QD and peptide chemistry and speculates on future research directions. Copyright 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.