Ellinor Haglund, PhD, MS

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Associate Member, Cancer Biology Program, University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

PhD, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University
MS, Chemistry, Umeå University
MS, Molecular Biology, Umeå University

Research Focus

My research is focused on the folding and function of proteins with complex topologies, utilizing both computational and experimental techniques. Through my postdoctoral training, I discovered a new class of “knot-like” motifs called pierced lasso topologies (PLTs). Interestingly, these threaded topologies exist in all kingdoms of life, and populate 18% of known protein structures containing a disulfide bond. To understand the biological role of PLTs in human health, we study three model protein systems: (i) The pleiotropic hormone leptin controlling energy expenditure, and plays a role in obesity and obesity related cancers. (ii) The enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) from humans (hSOD1) and M. tuberculosis (MtSOD) bacteria. SOD protects cells from oxidative stress by catalyzing the dismutation of superoxide radicals into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. (iii) Chemokines, small signaling proteins, that play a crucial role in immune responses and inflammation. They regulate the motility of immune cells, guiding them to sites of infection, injury, and inflammation. We are investigating fundamental features of PLTs and the biological implications in obesity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), tuberculosis, inflammation, and cancer. I am inspired by how nature works and utilize my multidisciplinary training to answer questions at the interface of chemistry, biology, and physics.

Selected Publications

Simien JM, Orellana GE, Phan HTN, Hu Y, Kurth EA, Ruf C, Kricek F, Wand Q, Smrcka VA, Haglund E*. (2023). A Small Contribution to a Large System: The Leptin Receptor Complex, J Phys. Chem. B. 127, 11, 2457–2465, PMID: 36912891 PMID: 6912891.

Simien JM, Haglund E*. (2021). Topological Twist in Nature, Trends Biochem. Sci. 2021;46(6):461-71, PMID: 33419636.

Danielsson J, Noel JK, Simien J.M., Duggan B, Oliveberg M, Onuchic JN, Jennings PJ, Haglund E*. (2020). The pierced lasso topology leptin has a bolt on dynamic domain composed by the disordered loops I and III., J. Mol. Biol. 17;432(9):3050-3063, PMID: 32081588.

Haglund E, Nguyen L, Schafer NP, Lammert H, Jennings PA, Onuchic JN. (2018). Uncovering the Molecular Mechanisms Behind Disease-Associated Leptin Mutations, J. Biol. Chem. doi:10.1074, PMID: 29950524.

Haglund E. (2015). Engineering Covalent Loops in Proteins can serve as an On/Off Switch to Regulate Threaded Topologies, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 9;27(35):354107, PMID: 26291088.

Haglund E, Sulkowska JI, Noel JK, Lammert H, Onuchic JN, Jennings PA. (2014). Pierced Lasso Bundles are a new class of knot-like motifs, PLoS Comput. Biol. 10(6):e1003613, PMID:24945798.

Haglund E, Sulkowska JI, He Z, Feng GS, Jennings PA, Onuchic JN. (2012). The unique cysteine knot regulates the pleotropic hormone leptin, PLoS One 7(9):e45654, PMID: 23029163.

Publication list via PubMed

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