Tobias S Ulmer, PhD

Associate Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience

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Dr. Ulmer received his PhD from the University of Oxford after completing his undergraduate work at the University of Zurich. After completing postdoctoral work at NIH, Dr. Ulmer establishes his research group at the University of Southern California (USC).

His research program centers on elucidating the molecular mechanism underlying physiological function and pathological dysfunction, respectively, of biological processes at atomic resolution. Specifically, the three-dimensional structure of proteins, their dynamics as well as protein-protein and protein-lipid interactions are determined. As a principal research tool, high-resolution, multidimensional solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is employed. His overarching interest is devoted to the structural biology of proteins that are either membrane embedded or membrane surface-bound.

Specifically, his laboratory focuses on understanding
(1) the structural basis of transmembrane signaling in cell surface receptors, and
(2) the mechanism of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 regulation.


  • Correction: Evolutionarily conserved dual lysine motif determines the non-chaperone function of secreted Hsp90alpha in tumour progression Oncogene. 2024 Apr 04. . View in PubMed
  • VprBP/DCAF1 Triggers Melanomagenic Gene Silencing through Histone H2A Phosphorylation Biomedicines. 2023 Sep 17; 11(9). . View in PubMed
  • VprBP/DCAF1 triggers melanomagenic gene silencing through histone H2A phosphorylation Res Sq. 2023 Jul 12. . View in PubMed
  • Molecular basis of Q-length selectivity for the MW1 antibody-huntingtin interaction J Biol Chem. 2023 04; 299(4):104616. . View in PubMed
  • Comparison of Integrin aIIbß3 Transmembrane Association in Vesicles and Bicelles Biochemistry. 2023 06 20; 62(12):1858-1863. . View in PubMed
  • Phosphorylation and stabilization of EZH2 by DCAF1/VprBP trigger aberrant gene silencing in colon cancer Nat Commun. 2023 04 17; 14(1):2140. . View in PubMed
  • Insight Into Pathological Integrin aIIbß3 Activation From Safeguarding The Inactive State J Mol Biol. 2021 04 02; 433(7):166832. . View in PubMed
  • Isothermal Titration Calorimetry of Membrane Proteins Methods Mol Biol. 2021; 2302:69-79. . View in PubMed
  • Topological Adaptation of Transmembrane Domains to the Force-Modulated Lipid Bilayer Is a Basis of Sensing Mechanical Force Curr Biol. 2020 Jul 06; 30(13):2649. . View in PubMed
  • Topological Adaptation of Transmembrane Domains to the Force-Modulated Lipid Bilayer Is a Basis of Sensing Mechanical ForceCurr Biol. 2020 05 04; 30(9):1614-1625. e5. . View in PubMed
  • p32 is a negative regulator of p53 tetramerization and transactivation Mol Oncol. 2019 09; 13(9):1976-1992. . View in PubMed
  • Universal principles of membrane protein assembly, composition and evolution PLoS One. 2019; 14(8):e0221372. . View in PubMed
  • H3K27me1 is essential for MMP-9-dependent H3N-terminal tail proteolysis during osteoclastogenesis Epigenetics Chromatin. 2018 05 28; 11(1):23. . View in PubMed
  • Membrane Anchoring of a-Helical Proteins: Role of Tryptophan J Phys Chem B. 2018 01 25; 122(3):1185-1194. . View in PubMed
  • Regulation of Breast Cancer-Induced Osteoclastogenesis by MacroH2A12 Involving EZH2-Mediated H3K27me3. Cell Rep. 2018 07 03; 24(1):224-237. . View in PubMed
  • The folding equilibrium of huntingtin exon 1 monomer depends on its polyglutamine tract J Biol Chem. 2018 12 21; 293(51):19613-19623. . View in PubMed
  • Evolutionarily conserved dual lysine motif determines the non-chaperone function of secreted Hsp90alpha in tumour progression Oncogene. 2017 04; 36(15):2160-2171. . View in PubMed
  • Direct Evaluation of Protein-Lipid Contacts Reveals Protein Membrane Immersion and Isotropic Bicelle Structure J Phys Chem Lett. 2016 Nov 03; 7(21):4420-4426. . View in PubMed
  • MMP-9 facilitates selective proteolysis of the histone H3 tail at genes necessary for proficient osteoclastogenesis Genes Dev. 2016 Jan 15; 30(2):208-19. . View in PubMed
  • Structural and thermodynamic basis of proline-induced transmembrane complex stabilization Sci Rep. 2016 07 20; 6:29809. . View in PubMed
  • A Conserved Ectodomain-Transmembrane Domain Linker Motif Tunes the Allosteric Regulation of Cell Surface Receptors J Biol Chem. 2016 08 19; 291(34):17536-46. . View in PubMed
  • Linker histone H12 establishes chromatin compaction and gene silencing through recognition of H3K27me3. Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 19; 5:16714. . View in PubMed
  • Cooperation between SMYD3 and PC4 drives a distinct transcriptional program in cancer cells Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Oct 15; 43(18):8868-83. . View in PubMed
  • Mutation in CPT1C Associated With Pure Autosomal Dominant Spastic Paraplegia JAMA Neurol. 2015 May; 72(5):561-70. . View in PubMed
  • Annular anionic lipids stabilize the integrin aIIbß3 transmembrane complex J Biol Chem. 2015 Mar 27; 290(13):8283-93. . View in PubMed
  • Characterization of membrane protein interactions by isothermal titration calorimetry J Mol Biol. 2014 Oct 23; 426(21):3670-80. . View in PubMed
  • Sequence and membrane determinants of the random coil-helix transition of a-synuclein J Mol Biol. 2014 May 15; 426(10):2130-44. . View in PubMed
  • Structural characterization of the regulatory domain of brain carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 Biopolymers. 2014 Apr; 101(4):398-405. . View in PubMed
  • Insight into a-synuclein plasticity and misfolding from differential micelle binding J Phys Chem B. 2013 Oct 03; 117(39):11448-59. . View in PubMed
  • Construction of covalent membrane protein complexes and high-throughput selection of membrane mimics J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Jun 06; 134(22):9030-3. . View in PubMed
  • A potentially common peptide target in secreted heat shock protein-90a for hypoxia-inducible factor-1a-positive tumors Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Feb; 23(4):602-13. . View in PubMed
  • Basic amino-acid side chains regulate transmembrane integrin signalling Nature. 2011 Dec 18; 481(7380):209-13. . View in PubMed
  • An environment-dependent structural switch underlies the regulation of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 09; 286(49):42545-42554. . View in PubMed
  • Recognition of enhancer element-specific histone methylation by TIP60 in transcriptional activation Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2011 Nov 13; 18(12):1358-65. . View in PubMed
  • Alpha-synuclein populates both elongated and broken helix states on small unilamellar vesicles J Biol Chem. 2011 Jun 17; 286(24):21450-7. . View in PubMed
  • A combinatorial NMR and EPR approach for evaluating the structural ensemble of partially folded proteins J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Jun 30; 132(25):8657-68. . View in PubMed
  • Structural basis of transmembrane domain interactions in integrin signaling Cell Adh Migr. 2010 Apr-Jun; 4(2):243-8. . View in PubMed
  • The clustering and spatial arrangement of beta-sheet sequence, but not order, govern alpha-synuclein fibrillogenesis Biochemistry. 2010 Feb 23; 49(7):1533-40. . View in PubMed
  • Effect of pseudorepeat rearrangement on alpha-synuclein misfolding, vesicle binding, and micelle binding J Mol Biol. 2009 Jul 17; 390(3):516-29. . View in PubMed
  • Interactions of platelet integrin alphaIIb and beta3 transmembrane domains in mammalian cell membranes and their role in integrin activation Blood. 2009 May 07; 113(19):4747-53. . View in PubMed
  • The structure of the integrin alphaIIbbeta3 transmembrane complex explains integrin transmembrane signalling EMBO J. 2009 May 06; 28(9):1351-61. . View in PubMed
  • Structure of the integrin alphaIIb transmembrane segment J Biol Chem. 2008 Jun 06; 283(23):16162-8. . View in PubMed
  • Characterization of alpha-synuclein interactions with selected aggregation-inhibiting small molecules Biochemistry. 2008 Apr 22; 47(16):4651-6. . View in PubMed
  • Structure of the integrin beta3 transmembrane segment in phospholipid bicelles and detergent micelles Biochemistry. 2008 Apr 01; 47(13):4008-16. . View in PubMed
  • Insight into disulfide bond catalysis in Chlamydia from the structure and function of DsbH, a novel oxidoreductase J Biol Chem. 2008 Jan 11; 283(2):824-32. . View in PubMed
  • NMR assignment of the periplasmic oxidoreductase DsbH from Chlamydia Biomol NMR Assign. 2007 Dec; 1(2):195-6. . View in PubMed
  • Comparison of structure and dynamics of micelle-bound human alpha-synuclein and Parkinson disease variants J Biol Chem. 2005 Dec 30; 280(52):43179-87. . View in PubMed
  • Structure and dynamics of micelle-bound human alpha-synuclein J Biol Chem. 2005 Mar 11; 280(10):9595-603. . View in PubMed
  • Quantitative J correlation methods for the accurate measurement of 13C’-13Calpha dipolar couplings in proteins J Biomol NMR. 2004 Oct; 30(2):181-94. . View in PubMed
  • Amide proton relaxation measurements employing a highly deuterated protein J Magn Reson. 2004 Feb; 166(2):190-201. . View in PubMed
  • Calcium dependence of the interaction between calmodulin and anthrax edema factor J Biol Chem. 2003 Aug 01; 278(31):29261-6. . View in PubMed
  • Evaluation of backbone proton positions and dynamics in a small protein by liquid crystal NMR spectroscopy J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Jul 30; 125(30):9179-91. . View in PubMed
  • Domain-specific interactions of talin with the membrane-proximal region of the integrin beta3 subunit Biochemistry. 2003 Jul 15; 42(27):8307-12. . View in PubMed
  • Structural determinants of integrin recognition by talin Mol Cell. 2003 Jan; 11(1):49-58. . View in PubMed
  • The effects of dissolved oxygen upon amide proton relaxation and chemical shift in a perdeuterated protein J Magn Reson. 2002 Aug; 157(2):181-9. . View in PubMed
  • SH3-SH2 domain orientation in Src kinases: NMR studies of Fyn Structure. 2002 Jul; 10(7):901-11. . View in PubMed
  • NMR analysis of structure and dynamics of the cytosolic tails of integrin alpha IIb beta 3 in aqueous solution Biochemistry. 2001 Jun 26; 40(25):7498-508. . View in PubMed
  • A membrane-distal segment of the integrin alpha IIb cytoplasmic domain regulates integrin activation J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 22; 276(25):22514-21. . View in PubMed
  • The role of the Src homology 3-Src homology 2 interface in the regulation of Src kinases J Biol Chem. 2001 May 18; 276(20):17199-205. . View in PubMed

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