Marsden funding success!

Marsden have generously funded us to explore the regulators and membrane transporters involved in sialic acid metabolism.  The work dovetails Rachel North’s Ph.D. work and she has accepted a postdoctoral; position in the lab to work on membrane proteins.

Bacterial sialic acid metabolism.

Sialic acids are one of the most important carbohydrate classes in biology: they are the terminal structures found on most glycoconjugates, including those on the surface of mammalian cells, and are the first point of interaction with carbohydrate binding proteins and receptors. Critically, they are also the first recognition point for host-pathogen interactions, as well […]

Adaptation of enzyme function.

How do enzymes evolve? Natural selection has produced molecular catalysts with amazing performance; some enzymes can accelerate the rate of chemical transformations by factors of 106 up to 1017. Why is this process, which is based on ‘trial and error’ so rapid and efficient? We cannot examine the ‘fossils’ of the protein world, but we have […]

Interactions in autophagy.

Autophagy is a bulk degradation pathway that removes cytosolic materials to maintain cellular homeostasis. The AuTophagy-related Gene 13 (Atg13) and microtubule associate protein 1 Light Chain 3 (LC3) proteins are required for initiation of autophagy and autophagosome formation. Using crystallography and protein-protein interaction techniques we are examining the structures of human Atg13 proteins and their […]

Milk proteins and their interactions.

β-Lactoglobulin is the most abundant whey protein in the milks of ruminant animals. While bovine b-lactoglobulin has been subjected to a vast array of studies, little is known about the caprine ortholog. We recently solved an ultra-high resolution crystal structure of caprine β-lactoglobulin and used analytical ultracentrifugation and small-angle X-ray scattering data to examine how […]

Biomarkers for diabetic complications.

Hemoglobin has a lifespan of 100-120 days in the red blood cell, which makes it an ideal candidate as a biomarker of chronic diseases. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) is routinely used to measure the average blood glucose levels of diabetic people. However, HbA1c fails to distinguish secondary complications associated with diabetes such as retinopathy, nephropathy, nerve […]

Enzymology of amino acid biosynthesis. 

This is a long-standing and fun project that explores how bacteria and plants make the essential amino acids, such as lysine.  We have focused on the enzymology of amino acid biosynthesis, since the enzymes that make essential amino acids are good targets for the development of inhibitors that block their function, i.e. new antibiotics.  We […]