Engin Ozkan

Associate Professor
Research Summary
Cell surface receptor proteins and secreted protein ligands determine the specific connectivity of cells which drives the development of complex systems and organs in multicellular organisms. My laboratory is interested in the biochemistry, signaling activity and interaction networks of proteins that are required for the development and function of nervous systems. Specifically, we are working on deciphering protein-protein interaction networks of the extracellular space required for axon guidance and pruning and synapse formation and validation using high-throughout methods. We study these proteins using a multi-disciplinary approach, including crystallography, cellular signaling assays and protein engineering strategies coupled to genetic modifications in model organisms.
Structural Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Neurobiology, Synaptogenesis, Axon guidance, Proteomics, Cell Surface Receptors
  • Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, B.S. Molecular Biology & Genetics 06/1999
  • U. of Texas Southwestern Med Ctr, Dallas, TX, Ph.D. Molecular Biophysics 05/2006
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA, Postdoctoral Biochemistry 06/2013
Biosciences Graduate Program Association
Awards & Honors
  • 2015 - Klingenstein-Simons Neuroscience Fellow
  • 2016 - Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience
  1. Endocytosis in the axon initial segment maintains neuronal polarity. Nature. 2022 09; 609(7925):128-135. View in: PubMed

  2. Molecular and structural basis of olfactory sensory neuron axon coalescence by Kirrel receptors. Cell Rep. 2021 11 02; 37(5):109940. View in: PubMed

  3. Finally on Track: Interactions of Off-Track with Plex-Sema Pathway and Glycosaminoglycans. Structure. 2020 05 05; 28(5):492-494. View in: PubMed

  4. NELL2-Robo3 complex structure reveals mechanisms of receptor activation for axon guidance. Nat Commun. 2020 03 20; 11(1):1489. View in: PubMed

  5. Family of neural wiring receptors in bilaterians defined by phylogenetic, biochemical, and structural evidence. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 05 14; 116(20):9837-9842. View in: PubMed

  6. A Proteomic Screen of Neuronal Cell-Surface Molecules Reveals IgLONs as Structurally Conserved Interaction Modules at the Synapse. Structure. 2019 06 04; 27(6):893-906.e9. View in: PubMed

  7. Planar-Polarized Semaphorin-5c and Plexin A Promote the Collective Migration of Epithelial Cells in Drosophila. Curr Biol. 2019 03 18; 29(6):908-920.e6. View in: PubMed

  8. Molecular basis of synaptic specificity by immunoglobulin superfamily receptors in Drosophila. Elife. 2019 01 28; 8. View in: PubMed

  9. Deconstruction of the beaten Path-Sidestep interaction network provides insights into neuromuscular system development. Elife. 2017 08 15; 6. View in: PubMed

  10. Neural immunoglobulin superfamily interaction networks. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2017 08; 45:99-105. View in: PubMed

  11. Conformational Plasticity in the Transsynaptic Neurexin-Cerebellin-Glutamate Receptor Adhesion Complex. Structure. 2016 12 06; 24(12):2163-2173. View in: PubMed

  12. Precise regulation of the guidance receptor DMA-1 by KPC-1/Furin instructs dendritic branching decisions. Elife. 2016 Mar 14; 5. View in: PubMed

  13. Control of Synaptic Connectivity by a Network of Drosophila IgSF Cell Surface Proteins. Cell. 2015 Dec 17; 163(7):1770-1782. View in: PubMed

  14. Structure of an intermediate conformer of the spindle checkpoint protein Mad2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 08; 112(36):11252-7. View in: PubMed

  15. MADD-4/Punctin and Neurexin Organize C.?elegans GABAergic Postsynapses through Neuroligin. Neuron. 2015 Jun 17; 86(6):1420-32. View in: PubMed

  16. "Velcro" engineering of high affinity CD47 ectodomain as signal regulatory protein a (SIRPa) antagonists that enhance antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis. J Biol Chem. 2015 May 15; 290(20):12650-63. View in: PubMed

  17. Deconstructing the peptide-MHC specificity of T cell recognition. Cell. 2014 May 22; 157(5):1073-87. View in: PubMed

  18. Extracellular architecture of the SYG-1/SYG-2 adhesion complex instructs synaptogenesis. Cell. 2014 Jan 30; 156(3):482-94. View in: PubMed

  19. An extracellular interactome of immunoglobulin and LRR proteins reveals receptor-ligand networks. Cell. 2013 Jul 03; 154(1):228-39. View in: PubMed

  20. Engineered SIRPa variants as immunotherapeutic adjuvants to anticancer antibodies. Science. 2013 Jul 05; 341(6141):88-91. View in: PubMed

  21. Plum, an immunoglobulin superfamily protein, regulates axon pruning by facilitating TGF-? signaling. Neuron. 2013 May 08; 78(3):456-68. View in: PubMed

  22. Mechanistic and structural insight into the functional dichotomy between IL-2 and IL-15. Nat Immunol. 2012 Dec; 13(12):1187-95. View in: PubMed

  23. Molecular and structural insight into proNGF engagement of p75NTR and sortilin. J Mol Biol. 2010 Mar 05; 396(4):967-84. View in: PubMed

  24. Gabapentin receptor alpha2delta-1 is a neuronal thrombospondin receptor responsible for excitatory CNS synaptogenesis. Cell. 2009 Oct 16; 139(2):380-92. View in: PubMed

  25. Structures of neuroligin-1 and the neuroligin-1/neurexin-1 beta complex reveal specific protein-protein and protein-Ca2+ interactions. Neuron. 2007 Dec 20; 56(6):992-1003. View in: PubMed

  26. Mechanistic insight into the allosteric activation of a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme by RING-type ubiquitin ligases. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Dec 27; 102(52):18890-5. View in: PubMed

  27. APC2 Cullin protein and APC11 RING protein comprise the minimal ubiquitin ligase module of the anaphase-promoting complex. Mol Biol Cell. 2001 Dec; 12(12):3839-51. View in: PubMed

  28. The plug domain of FepA, a TonB-dependent transport protein from Escherichia coli, binds its siderophore in the absence of the transmembrane barrel domain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Sep 11; 98(19):10676-81. View in: PubMed