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The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Faculty & Staff

Alla Kostyukova, PhD

Alla Kostyukova Headshot 2019

Alla Kostyukova, Ph.D.
The Paul Hohenschuh Distinguished Professor in Chemical Engineering

Regulation of actin dynamics by actin-binding proteins; protein structure and protein-protein interactions; protein engineering; circular dichroism

Office: 340D Wegner Hall 📞509-335-1888

The Gene and Linda Voiland
School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
1505 Stadium Way, Room 105
P.O. Box 646515
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6515

Research Associates

Dr. Dmitri Tolkatchev, Assistant Research Professor (2014-2021)

Postdoctoral Research Associates

Dr. Garry Smith
Dr. Natalia Moroz (2011-2015)

Current Graduate Students

Balaganesh Kuruba
Eduardo Sanchez
Madison Little

Undergraduate Students

Alan Palma Guillen
Brayan Osegueda Velazquez
Dane Washington
Ethan Jaeger
Mahiba Ahmed
Ori Naveh

Former Graduate Students

Mert Colpan (University of Arizona)
Kevin Gray (University of Maryland)
Kyle Swain (CP Kelco)
Nick Starks
Tanzila Islam (Intel)
Thu (Lily) Ly (AGC Biologics)

Biographical Information

Alla Kostyukova received her M.Sc. in Biophysics from St. Petersburg State University, Russia, and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Institute of Protein Research, Russian Academy of Sciences & Moscow State University. She worked as a Research Associate in the Institute of Protein Research, Russia, and as a Senior Research Associate in RIKEN Harima Institute at SPring8, Japan, before moving to the USA. Before joining the Washington State University Voiland School faculty she worked for 4 years as an Assistant Professor and Director of the Circular Dichroism Facility in Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ.

Research Interests

  1. Regulation of actin dynamics in cytoskeleton of muscle and non-muscle cells. Playing a critical role in muscle contraction, cell movement, and cell morphology, actin filaments form vastly different structures in different cell types and different locations within the cell. Regulation of the dynamics at actin’s ends is of central importance in the assembly of these various structures. The major goal of our research is to determine the mechanisms of this fine-tuned regulation necessary to understand processes existent in living cells, such as myocytes and neurons.
  2. Protein structure, protein-protein interactions and protein engineering. Important part of our research is studying structure of proteins and formation of protein complexes as well as engineering proteins with desired properties. These studies are parts in our ongoing projects as well as incollaborative projects.

Ongoing Research Projects

  • NIH RO1 GM120137, 06/01/2017-05/31/2025
    Regulation of the actin filament pointed end dynamics in health and disease. Role: PI
  • NIH 2R01 HL123078, 09/01//2020-08/31/2025 (PI Gregorio)
    Deciphering the role of Lmod2 in cardiac muscle and in dilated cardiomyopathy. Role: co-PI

List of Recent Publications

(full list of publications: )
(italic: graduate students, underlined: undergraduate students)

  1. Smith GE, Tolkatchev D, Risi C, Little M, Gregorio CC, Galkin VE, Kostyukova AS. Ca2+ attenuates nucleation activity of leiomodin. Protein Sci. 2022;31(7):e4358. doi: 10.1002/pro.4358. Online ahead of print.
  2. Kuruba B, Kaczmarek M, Kęsik-Brodacka M, Fojutowska M, Śliwinska M, Kostyukova AS, Moraczewska J. Structural Effects of Disease-Related Mutations in Actin-Binding Period 3 of Tropomyosin. Molecules. 2021; 26(22):6980.
  3. Tolkatchev D, Gregorio CC, Kostyukova AS. The role of leiomodin in actin dynamics: a new road or a secret gate. FEBS J. 2021 Jul 17:10.1111/febs.16128. doi: 10.1111/febs.16128. Online ahead of print.
  4. Tolkatchev D*, Kuruba B*, Smith GE Jr, Swain KD, Smith KA, Moroz N, Williams TJ, Kostyukova AS. Structural insights into the tropomodulin assembly at the pointed ends of actin filaments. Protein Sci. 2021, 30(2):423-437 *equal contribution.
  5. Tolkatchev D*, Smith GE Jr*, Schultz LE, Colpan M, Helms GL, Cort JR, Gregorio CC, Kostyukova AS. Leiomodin creates a leaky cap at the pointed end of actin-thin filaments. PLoS Biol. 2020;18(9):e3000848. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000848. *equal contribution.
  6. Tolkatchev D, Smith GE Jr, Kostyukova AS. Role of intrinsic disorder in muscle sarcomeres. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2019;166:311-340.
  7. Moraczewska J, Robaszkiewicz K, Åšliwinska M, Czajkowska M, Ly T, Kostyukova, A.S., Wen H, Zheng W. Congenital myopathy-related mutations in tropomyosin disrupt regulatory function through altered actin affinity and tropomodulin binding. FEBS J. 2019 286(10):1877-1893.
  8. Ly T, Pappas CT, Johnson D, Schlecht W, Colpan, M, Galkin VE, Gregorio CC, Dong WJ, Kostyukova, A.S. Effects of cardiomyopathy-linked mutations k15n and r21h in tropomyosin on thin filament regulation and pointed-end dynamics. Mol Biol Cell. 2019;30(2):268-281.
  9. Hu H, Islam T, Kostyukova, A.S., Ha S, Gupta S. From Battery Enabled to Natural Harvesting: Enzymatic BioFuel Cell Assisted Integrated Analog Front-End in 130nm CMOS for Long-Term Monitoring. IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems – I: Regular Papers. 2018; 66(2):534-545.
  10. Gray, K.T., Stefen H, Ly TNA, Keller CJ, Colpan, M, Wayman GA, Pate E, Fath T, Kostyukova A.S. Tropomodulin’s Actin-Binding Abilities Are Required to Modulate Dendrite Development. Front Mol Neurosci. 2018;11:357.
  11. Tolkatchev D, Elnatan D, Nogara L, Ly T, Naber N, Haak K, Meech R, Cooke R, Kostyukova A.S. Piperine, an alkaloid inhibiting the super-relaxed state of myosin, binds to the myosin regulatory light chain. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2018; 659:75-84.
  12. Arslan B, Colpan, M, Gray, K.T., Abu-Lail NI, Kostyukova A.S. Characterizing interaction forces between actin and proteins of the tropomodulin family reveals the presence of the N-terminal actin-binding site in leiomodin. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2018, 638:18-26.
  13. Ly T, Krieger I, Tolkatchev D, Krone C, Moural T, Samatey FA, Kang C, Kostyukova A.S. Structural destabilization of tropomyosin induced by the cardiomyopathy-linked mutation R21H. Protein Sci. 2018, 27(2):498-508.
  14. Barker, C.S., Meshcheryakova, I.V., Kostyukova A.S., Freddolino, P.L., Samatey, F.A. An intrinsically disordered linker controlling the formation and the stability of the bacterial flagellar hook. BMC Biol. 2017, 15(1):97.
  15. Colpan, M., Ly T., Grover, S., Tolkatchev, D., Kostyukova A.S. The cardiomyopathy-associated K15N mutation in tropomyosin alters actin filament pointed end dynamics. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2017, 630:18-26.

Research Team

2019 Alla's Lab
Team photo from 2019 (front, l to r) Alla Kostyukova, Dmitri Tolkatchev, (back, l to r): Karla Bonic, Kaitlin Smith, Balaganesh Kuruba, Erin Templeton, Garry Smith
2019 Alla and her Current Students
Alla Kostyukova with her current students (l to r): Dr. Alla Kostyukova, Garry Smith, Erin Templeton, Karla Bonic
Undergraduate student Kaitlin Smith inoculating bacterial culture
Undergraduate student Kaitlin Smith inoculating bacterial culture
Dr. Tolkatchev teaches REU student Karla Bonic to run DNA electrophoresis
Dr. Tolkatchev teaches REU student Karla Bonic to run DNA electrophoresis
Garry Smith with liquid nitrogen
Garry Smith places actin samples in liquid nitrogen cryogenic storage
Garry Smith teaching Erin Templeton
Graduate student Garry Smith explains to undergraduate student Erin Templeton how to use a high performance liquid chromatographer
Dr. Dmitri Tolkatchev working with students in Alla Kostyukova's lab
Dr. Dmitri Tolkatchev working in the lab with graduate students, Kyle Swain and Thu Ly
(front, l to r) Samantha Grover, Natalia Moroz, Thu Ly, Kevin Gray; (back, l to r) Mert Colpan, Dimitri Tolkatchev, Dillon Cooper
Team photo from 2015 (front, l to r) Samantha Grover, Natalia Moroz, Thu Ly, Kevin Gray; (back, l to r) Mert Colpan, Dmitri Tolkatchev, Dillon Cooper