Research Topics

Cytochrome c assembly (Overview)

Since 1987 our group has studied the molecular mechanisms by which the three pathways (systems I, II, III) covalently attach heme to the protein (apocytochrome c). These systems are diagrammed on the home page. We use a combination of molecular genetics and membrane protein biochemistry to elucidate, for example, how heme moves through each system and is ultimately attached. Some of the tools we employ and details on assembly are described in the research links on this page.

We are also interested in finding chemical inhibitors of these pathways, since systems I and II are used by prokaryotes, yet humans use the simple, unrelated system III. We discovered that metal (non-iron) porphyrins specifically inhibit systems I and II, and we are developing high throughput screens for the assembly pathways (to discover new inhibitors).

Heme protein biogenesis, with emphasis on the cytochrome c biosynthetic pathways.