Biochemistry Department

Dunn Research Group

Welcome to the Dunn Research Group


Research Specialization - Research in my laboratory involves studies in two areas: (1) the investigation of catalytic mechanisms of pyridoxalphosphate-requiring enzymes and other oligomeric enzymes; and (2) investigation of structure-function interrelationships for insulin and other protein hormones. The primary objective of my research is to combine the results of our physical-chemical solution studies for these oligomeric enzymes and protein hormones with structural information from other laboratories to achieve a detailed understanding of the relationship between structure and function. My studies emphasize the use of rapid kinetic methods (i.e., stopped-flow rapid-mixing, and rapid scanning spectrophotometry) and other physical biochemical techniques (FT NMR, fluorescence, microspectrophotometry) to investigate chemical intermediates in catalysis and to investigate the interrelationship between subunit structure, function and regulation of biological activity. We are currently investigating two allosteric systems, the tryptophan synthases from enteric bacteria and the zinc insulin hexamer. The allosteric effects in tryptophan synthase exert control over the catalytic processes at the alpha- and beta-sites of the bienzyme complex in such a way that the chemical transformations are coupled. In the insulin system, the allosteric effects mediate a conformational change that causes some residues to move by as much as 25Å, and this conformational transition forces the zinc sites to undergo a change in coordination geometry from octahedral to tetrahedral. Our work is directed toward the elucidation of the underlying mechanisms of these allosteric interactions.

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University of California, Riverside
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Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department of Biochemistry
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Fax: (951) 827-2364
Email: Biochem@ucr.edu

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