Artem V. Domashevskiy

Artem V. Domashevskiy

Artem V. Domashevskiy
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
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2012 Post-doc     John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
2011 PhD             The Graduate Center and Hunter College, City University of New York
2009 MPhil           The Graduate Center, City University of New York
2006 BA              Hunter College, City University of New York


Various plants produce proteins that are thought to play an important role in their defense mechanism against foreign pathogenic invaders. These proteins are widely found throughout the plant kingdom as well as in many species of fungi and bacteria. Their selective toxicity has been explored by biologists to create transgenic plants resistant to viral and fungal infections, cancer researchers to investigate immuno-conjugate therapeutics, political and military groups to create biological weaponry, and by mystery writers to engage the readers. These, so called ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs) are RNA N-glycosidases that selectively modify large rRNA molecules and render them incompetent to sustain advanced staged of translation. Example of such plant toxins include ricin from castor bean, pokeweed antiviral protein from common pokeweed plant, saporin from soapwart, etc.

Our laboratory uses methods in molecular biology and biophysics to study structure, function, and properties of RIPs (e.g., pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP) isolated from Phytolacca americana plant, ricin toxin from castor bean plant, and others). Specific projects include:

Agricultural epidemics can have disastrous effects on nation's health via crop yield and safety and on its economy through costs of containment and eradication, reduced domestic demand, and global embargoes. A better understanding of the activities of PAP, e. g., how PAP selects its target RNAs for depurination, could help in devising ways to control pathogenic epidemics in plants.

Experimental cancer chemotherapy uses plant toxins coupled to a cancer marker recognition antibody to specifically deliver the toxin to the cancer cells. Side-effects of the toxin molecules remaining in the circulation or released from lysed cancer cells may be eliminated by using liposomal drug delivery and effective RIP inhibitors. PAP encapsulated into a lipid vehicle is being investigated as an anticancer agent, and the toxin delivery is tested for efficiency.

We are developing a novel peptide inhibitor for cytotoxins ricin and Shiga toxin by investigating a viral protein, VPg, from turnip mosaic virus that is known to inhibit a plant RIPs using biophysical, biochemical and computational methods.

Students in this laboratory can receive training in enzymology, biophysical methods of analysis of protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions, protein expression and purification. Active collaborations occur with laboratories specializing in NMR, X-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry, synthetic organic chemistry, phytopathology, virology, cancer and medicine.

Area of Expertise

Faculty Expertise: topics/keywords

General areas of expertise include: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics.