Raju Rajala


Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology


Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Andhra University, India

Postdoctoral Training, University of Saskatchewan and National Research Council of Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 


Ongoing Research Projects: The molecular, biochemical, and functional implications of the insulin receptor (IRß ) in the retina are not known. We propose to apply state-of-the-art molecular techniques with the goal of identifying the molecular mechanisms of light-induced activation of insulin receptor, regulation of insulin receptor in the retina, and the functional role of these receptors in the retina. Our long-term goal is to understand the role of insulin receptors in the retina and elucidate the intracellular signaling pathways they generate. The biological implication extends to the cause and treatment of a number of retinal degenerative diseases, including diabetic retinopathy. Deregulation of IR signaling is a known contributor of diabetic retinopathy, whereas apoptosis is the predominant pathological phenotype in most retinal degenerations. Understanding the light-dependent IRß regulation and identification of novel regulatory proteins (activators or inhibitors), which modulate IRß function at post-translational level, not only advance our knowledge on IR signaling, but might allow development of therapeutic strategies such as gene or protein therapy to protect the dying retinal cells.


1. Rajala RVS, McClellan ME, Chan MD, Tsiokas L and Anderson RE (2004) Direct interaction of retinal insulin receptor-ß subunit with p85 subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase.Biochemistry.

2. Yu X, Rajala RVS, McGinnis JF, Li F, Anderson RE, Yan X, Li S, Elias RV, Knapp RR and Cao W (2004) Involvement of insulin/PI3K/Akt signal pathway in 17-ß estradiol-mediated neuroprotection. Journal of Biological Chemistry, in press.

3. Rajala RVS and Anderson RE (2003) Light regulation of insulin receptor in retina. Molecular Neruobiology,28: 123-138.

4. Rajala RVS, McClellan ME, Ash JD and Anderson RE (2002) In vivo regulation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase in retina through light induced tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor-ß subunit. Journal of Biological Chemistry277: 43319-43326.

5. Rajala RVS, Kakkar R, Kanthan R, Radhi JM, Wang X, Wang R, Datla RSS and Sharma RK. (2002) Altered expression and localization of N-myristoyltransferase in experimentally induced rat model of ischemia-reperfusion. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry86: 509-519.

6. Rajala RVS and Anderson, R.E. (2001) Interaction of insulin receptor ß-subunit with phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in bovine ROS. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science42:3110-3117.

7. Rajala RVS, Datla RSS, Carlsen SA, Anderson DH, Qi Z, Wang JH and Sharma RK (2001). Phosphorylation of human myristoyl-CoA: protein N-myristoyltransferase by N-myristoylated Src family tyrosine kinase members. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications288:233-239.

8. Rajala RVS, Radhi JM, Datla RSS, Kakkar R, and Sharma RK (2000) Increased expression of N-myristoyltransferase in gallbladder carcinomas. Cancer 88: 1992-1999.

9. Qi, Q, Rajala, RVS, Anderson W, Jiang C, Rozwadowski, Selvaraj G, Sharma, RK and Datla RSS (2000) Molecular cloning, genomic organization and biochemical characterization of myristoyl-CoA:protein N-myristoyltransferase from Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Biological Chemistry 275-9673-9683.

10. Rajala RVS, Datla RSS, Moyana TN, Kakkar R, Carlsen SA and Sharma RK (2000) N-myristoyltransferase. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 204: 135-155.

11. Rajala RVS, Datla RSS, Warrington RC and Sharma RK (1998) Effects of L-histidine and its structural analogs on human N-myristoyltransferase activity and importance of EEVEH amino acid sequence for enzyme activity. Biochemistry 37: 14928-14936.

12. Rajala RVS, Kakkar R, Datla RSS, Radhi JM and Sharma RK (1998). Myristoyl CoA: protein N-myristoyltransferase from bovine cardiac muscle: Molecular cloning, kinetic analysis and in vitro proteolytic cleavage by m-calpain. Experimental Cell Research 241: 23-35.

13. Rajala RVS, Anderson JW, Datla RSS and Sharma RK (1997) Molecular cloning and biochemical characterization of bovine spleen Myristoyl CoA: protein N-myristoyltransferase.Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 348:134-142.

14. Rajala RVS, Datla RSS and Sharma RK (1996) Reduction of oncoprotein transformation in vitro by albumin. Journal of National Cancer Institute 88:556-557.

15. Rajala RVS, Kalra J and Sharma RK (1994) Purification and properties of bovine spleen myristoyl CoA:protein N-myristoyltransferase. Journal of Biological Chemistry 269:12080-12083.


Department of Ophthalmology and Cell Biology
University of Okalahoma Health Sciences Center
608 Stanton L. Young Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73126

Phone:(405) 271-8255
Fax: (405) 271-8128