Shilton Laboratory


Enzymes catalyze the chemical transformations required by living systems for structure, growth, and metabolism. How do enzymes work? We use X-ray crystallography and SAXS, in addition to biochemical and biophysical techniques to understand enzyme structure and function.

Individual enzymes are are only one component of complex living systems, and the reactions they catalyze must be regulated and co-ordinated with thousands other molecules and reactions. These things are what makes enzymes so fascinating.

I am particularly interested in how enzymes use ATP to do mechanical work, like moving molecules across membranes. These reactions typically involve large changes in protein conformation and protein-protein interactions, all of which are ultimately coupled to binding and hydrolysis of ATP. Two of the systems we study are ABC Transporters and Preprotein Translocase.


Enzyme Structure and Function

Human choline acetyltransferase is shown on top of an X-ray diffraction pattern that was used for the structure determination. Choline acetyltranferase catalyzes the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This structure was a collaborative effort with Dr. Jane Rylett.