<b>Professor David Craik</b><br>
Laboratory Head, Chemistry and Structural Biology Division<br><p>
P: +61 7 3346 2019<br>
E: d.craik@imb.uq.edu.au<p>
<b>Keywords</b><br>
- cancer<br>
- chronic pain<br>
- multiple sclerosis<br>
- cardiovascular disease<br>
- drug discovery<br>
- drug development<br>
- cyclic peptides<br>
- cyclotides<br>
- agriculture
Professor David Craik
Laboratory Head, Chemistry and Structural Biology Division

P: +61 7 3346 2019
E: d.craik@imb.uq.edu.au

Keywords
- cancer
- chronic pain
- multiple sclerosis
- cardiovascular disease
- drug discovery
- drug development
- cyclic peptides
- cyclotides
- agriculture

Protein structure in drug and insecticide design

 

Peptides and proteins play a vital role in almost every cellular process in living organisms. Our research discovers and determines the structural information of peptides and proteins to design drugs to more effectively treat human disease and develop natural protein-based insecticides to protect Australian food and fibre crops.

We use protein engineering to modify proteins by grafting new biologically active peptide sequences onto them. We also stabilise proteins through cyclisation, a process where the head and tail ends of the protein chain are joined together to make a circular protein. Circular proteins are exceptionally stable and we have modelled our protein engineering studies on naturally occurring proteins known as cyclotides that we discovered in plants.

We undertake fieldwork in Australia and overseas for the collection of plant species so we can explore the diversity and evolution of the cyclotide family of plant proteins. We have chemically re-engineered cyclotides under development for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic pain.
We also study the structures of a range of toxins from cone snails, spiders and snakes, and use this information to understand their mode of action against ion channels and other receptors involved in the pain pathway.

During the past 12 months, we have used a range of medicinal chemistry techniques to determine the structures of biologically active molecules and identify functional regions of these molecules to exploit in drug design and development. In particular, we have developed structure-activity relationships for a number of novel conotoxins with potential to be used as leads in drug design programs. We have also demonstrated that natural cyclotides can be adapted or re-engineered for pharmaceutical applications, and we have further defined structure-activity relationships for a class of mammalian host defence peptides called theta-defensins. This work has been reported in 34 refereed articles published during 2013, including commentaries in high-profile journals, Angewandte Chemie International Edition and Nature Chemistry. 

Make a difference to Professor Craik's research by donating today.

 

Student projects and opportunities

View current Craik Lab honours projects.

Key publications

View more publications by Professor Craik via his UQ Researcher Page.

Craik D J: Turbo-charged crosslinking. Nature Chemistry (2012) 4, 600-602.

Mylne J S, Chan L Y, Chanson A H, Daly N L, Schaefer H, Bailey T L, Nguyencong P, Cascales L, Craik D J: Cyclic peptides arising by evolutionary parallelism via asparaginyl-endiopeptidase mediated biosynthesis. Plant Cell (2012) 24, 2765-2778.

Eliasen R, Daly N L, Wulff B S, Andresen T L, Conde-Friebes K W, Craik D J: Design, synthesis, structural and functional characterization of novel melanocortin agonists based on the cyclotide kalata B1. Journal of Biological Chemistry (2012) 287, 4093-40501.

Schroeder C I, Craik D J: Therapeutic potential of conotoxins. Future Medicinal Chemistry (2012) 4, 1243-1255.

Poth A G, Colgrave M L, Philip R, Kerenga B, Daly N L, Anderson M A, Craik D J: Discovery of cyclotides in the Fabaceae plant family provides new insights into the cyclization, evolution and distribution of circular proteins. ACS Chemical Biology (2011) 6, 345-355. [Identified by ACS Chemical Biology as one of the “Best of Chemical Biology 2011”, J. A. Soares, ACS Chem. Biol. 2012, 7, 6-11.]

Clark R J, Jensen J, Nevin S T, Callaghan B P, Adams D J, Craik D J: The engineering of an orally active conotoxin for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2010) 49, 6545-6548.

Craik D J: Seamless proteins tie up their loose ends. Science, 311, 1563-1564 (2006).

External websites of interest

Cybase is dedicated to the study of a fascinating new class of proteins that possess a cyclic backbone in which the N and C termini have been joined with a conventional amide bond. These recently characterised molecules have now been found in organisms from all kingdoms of life and given the current rate of discovery the number of sequences could soon number in the hundreds.

ConoServer is a database specialising in the sequence and structures of conopeptides, which are peptides expressed by carnivorous marine cone snails.

Lab contacts

Ms Hafiza Abdul Ghani
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62324
h.abdulghani@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Peta Harvey
Research staff
+61 7 334 62924
+61 7 334 62925
peta.harvey@imb.uq.edu.au

Dr Susan Northfield
Research staff
+61 7 334 62014
+61 7 334 62324
s.northfield@imb.uq.edu.au

Ms Bodil Carstens
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62324
+61 7 334 62328
b.carstens@imb.uq.edu.au

Dr Sonia Henriques
Research staff
+61 7 334 62026
+61 7 334 62324
s.henriques@imb.uq.edu.au

Mrs Paola Ojeda
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62023
+61 7 334 62324
p.ojeda@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Angeline Chan
Research staff
+61 7 334 62024
+61 7 334 62324
angeline.chan@imb.uq.edu.au

Ms Yen-Hua Huang
Research staff
+61 7 334 62026
+61 7 334 62324
y.huang@imb.uq.edu.au

Dr Aaron Poth
Research staff
+61 7 334 62026
+61 7 334 62324
a.poth@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Stephanie Chaousis
Research staff
+61 7 334 62324
s.chaousis@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Mark Jackson
Research staff
+61 7 334 62014
+61 7 334 62324
m.jackson1@uq.edu.au
Mr Anjaneya Ravipati
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62324
+61 7 334 62927
a.ravipati@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Olivier Cheneval
Research staff
+61 7 334 62324
+61 7 334 62927
o.cheneval@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Husen Jia
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62023
+61 7 334 62324
h.jia@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Johan Rosengren
Research affiliate
+61 7 344 51403
j.rosengren@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Richard Clark
Research affiliate
+61 7 334 62324
r.clark@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Quentin Kaas
Research staff
+61 7 334 62021
+61 7 334 62324
q.kaas@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Christina Schroeder
Research staff
+61 7 334 62021
c.schroeder@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Anne Conibear
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62023
+61 7 334 62324
a.conibear@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Meng-Wei Kan
Research staff
+61 7 334 62049
a.kan@imb.uq.edu.au

Dr Joakim Swedberg
Research staff
+61 7 334 62021
j.swedberg@imb.uq.edu.au

Professor David Craik
Laboratory head
+61 7 334 62019
+61 7 334 62324
d.craik@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Soohyun Kwon
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62023
+61 7 334 62324
soohyun.kwon@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Phillip Walsh
Research staff
+61 7 334 62324
+61 7 334 62328
p.walsh@imb.uq.edu.au 
Ms Charlotte Dsouza
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62023
+61 7 334 62324
c.dsouza@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Tunjung Mahatmanto
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62324
+61 7 334 62328
t.mahatmanto@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Conan Wang
Research staff
+61 7 334 62014
+61 7 334 62324
c.wang@imb.uq.edu.au 
Dr Thomas Durek
Research staff
+61 7 334 62021
+61 7 334 62324
t.durek@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Uru Malik
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62324
+61 7 334 62382
+61 7 334 62927
u.malik@imb.uq.edu.au
 
Dr Edward Gilding
Research staff
+61 7 334 62014
+61 7 334 62324
e.gilding@imb.uq.edu.au

Dr Emma Miles
Support staff
+61 7 334 62049
e.miles@imb.uq.edu.au