W. Malcolm Byrnes, PhD
- College of Medicine
- Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 1994
- Postdoctoral Researcher, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1994-1996
Courses Currently Teaching
- Dental Biochemistry
- Enzymology (coordinator)
- First Year Medical Course: Molecules and Cells Unit IA
- General Biochemistry
- General Biochemistry Laboratory
- Preliminary Academic Reinforcement Program (PARP)
- Principles of Metabolic Regulation (coordinator)
Recent NIH-funded research in my laboratory has focused on the characterization of anthranilate synthase and related chorismate-utilizing enzymes from bacteria. Anthranilate synthase catalyzes the conversion of chorismate to anthranilate using an amino group derived from glutamine; this reaction represents the first step of the tryptophan biosynthetic pathway. Work in the laboratory has involved the characterization of a fused (TrpE-TrpG) anthranilate synthase from the antibiotic-producing bacterium Streptomyces venezuelae. Our results showed that the enzyme, unlike other anthranilate synthases, functions as a monomer. Moreover, like certain aminodeoxyisochorismate (ADIC) synthases with which it shares high amino acid sequence similarity, the fused enzyme cannot use exogenous ammonia as a substrate. We have also been working on confirming the amino acid residues that line the chorismate site using both site-directed mutagenesis and protein homology modeling. In addition, we have identified, using site-directed mutagenesis, structural features important for tryptophan inhibition of the enzyme. Other research projects I have undertaken in the past have involved, for example, the allosteric enzyme phosphofructokinase, the streptomycin-inactivating enzymes APH(6)-Ia and -Id, and the DNA polymerase from Thermus aquaticus (Taq polymerase). Finally, in addition to my work in biochemistry, I am engaged in scholarly pursuits in other areas: bioethics; ecological ethics, especially as it relates to climate change; the science-religion debate; and the scientific legacy of biologist Ernest Everett Just. More information about my background and work can be found on my ResearchGate site.
For a partial listing, see PubMed. For a full listing, see my CV (above).