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James M. Ervasti, PhD

Professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics
College of Biological Sciences
University of Minnesota
7-104 MCB
420 Washington Avenue SE
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

James M. Ervasti is professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics at College of Biological Sciences of University of Minnesota. His expertise is in areas such as dystrophin, utrophin, muscular dystrophy, actin cytoskeleton, microtubule-associated proteins, protein-protein interactions, protein stability, and animal models of disease.

He runs a laboratory in the university that primarily studies the structure and cellular function of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex, which spans the muscle cell plasma membrane (or sarcolemma) and links the cortical actin cytoskeleton with the extracellular matrix. The objective is to fully define the function of dystrophin in striated muscle to understand how its absence or abnormality leads to the pathologies observed in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies.

Several of the advances were made possible by methods that his team and lab pioneered to express and purify biochemical amounts of full-length recombinant dystrophin and utrophin. Continuing to build on the project’s history of innovation, it has developed new cell and animal models that enable to investigate the critical roles of cytoplasmic non-muscle actin isoforms in skeletal muscle.


Representative Publications:

Microtubule binding distinguishes dystrophin from utrophin

β-Actin and fascin-2 cooperate to maintain stereocilia length

Impacts of dystrophin and utrophin domains on actin structural dynamics: implications for therapeutic design

Disease-causing missense mutations in actin binding domain 1 of dystrophin induce thermodynamic instability and protein aggregation