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Professor Ben Cravatt

The aim of the Cravatt research group is to understand the roles that mammalian enzymes play in physiological and pathological processes and to use this knowledge to identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of human disease. To achieve these goals, they develop and apply new technologies that bridge the fields of chemistry and biology, ascribing to the philosophy that the most significant biomedical problems require creative multidisciplinary approaches for their solution. The group's technological innovations address fundamental challenges in systems biology that are beyond the scope of contemporary methods. For instance, enzymes are tightly regulated by post-translational events in vivo, meaning that their activity may not correlate with expression as measured by standard genomic and proteomic approaches. Considering that it is an enzyme's activity, rather than abundance that ultimately dictates its role in cell physiology and pathology, the Cravatt group has introduced a set of proteomic technologies that directly measures this parameter. These activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) methods exploit the power of chemistry to engender new tools and assays for the global analysis of enzyme activities. The enzyme activity profiles generated by ABPP constitute unique molecular portraits of cells and tissues that illuminate how metabolic and signaling networks are regulated in vivo. Additionally, by evaluating enzymes based on functional properties rather than mere abundance, ABPP acquires high-content proteomic information that is enriched in novel markers and targets for the diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

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Ku-Lung Hsu, Katsunori Tsuboi, Alexander Adibekian, Holly Pugh, Kim Masuda, Benjamin F Cravatt
Nature Chemical Biology 2012-12-01
The endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is biosynthesized by diacylglycerol lipases DAGLα and DAGLβ. Chemical probes to perturb DAGLs are needed to characterize endocannabinoid function in biological processes. Here we report a series of 1,2,3-triazole urea inhibitors, along with paired negative-control and activity-ba...Read More
Ku-Lung Hsu, Katsunori Tsuboi, Jae Won Chang, Landon R Whitby, Anna E Speers, Holly Pugh, Benjamin F Cravatt
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2013-11-14
α/β-Hydrolase domain containing 6 (ABHD6) is a transmembrane serine hydrolase that hydrolyzes the endogenous cannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) to regulate certain forms of cannabinoid receptor-dependent signaling in the nervous system. The full spectrum of ABHD6 metabolic activities and functions is currently unknown and...Read More