The structure of the antibiotic resistance methyltransferase, NpmA, bound to the small ribosomal subunit has been featured in the Protein Data Bank's Molecule of the Month series. This structure, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science by Dunkle et al. in 2014, revealed specific ribosomal RNA helices are recognized by NpmA in a sequence-independent manner to direct enzyme specificity. Once bound to the ribosome, NpmA methylates a site in ribosomal RNA that blocks aminoglycoside binding. Bacteria expressing NpmA are therefore resistant to aminoglycoside antibiotics.
The Molecule of the Month series informs readers about molecular structures within the PDB and how these structures contribute to improving human health. The October 2018 entry in this series shows how molecular structures reveal the binding site and mechanism of action for aminoglycoside antibiotics and how bacteria become resistant.
Georgette Munezero and Athina Aminor of Spring Hill College are performing summer research on erythromycin resistance methyltransferase structure and mechanism with the Dunkle Research Group.
Jack attended RNA 2018, the annual meeting of the RNA Society at the University of California at Berkeley to present a poster, co-authored by Sebastian, Rachel and Josh on the Dunkle Research Group's erythromycin resistance methyltransferase research.
The University of Alabama News Center has published an article on the erythromycin resistance methyltransferase research being done by the UA (Dunkle Group) and Spring Hill College (Schoeffler Group) team. Link: Grasping Antibiotic Resistance Goal of UA, Spring Hill College Project.
The Dunkle Research Group is now funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to pursue structure and mechanism studies of rRNA methyltransferases conferring antibiotic resistance.
Dr. Allyn Schoeffler and student, Victoria Shepard, of Spring Hill College visited UA to perform collaborative research. Dr. Schoeffler also presented a seminar on advanced Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) studies of bio-molecules.
Jack presented a poster, co-authored with Josh Halliday and Sebastian Rowe, titled "Determining the role of RNA sequence and structure in the specificity of rRNA methyltransferases" at the Gordon Research Conference on Nucleic Acids at the University of New England.
Congratulations to Sebastian who received a UCRA grant from the University of Alabama to support his research on erythromycin resistance methyltransferases.
Christina and Zoe each presented posters at the 2017 University of Alabama Undergraduate Research Conference (URCA) reporting their research on the mechanistic basis of m6A modification of fungal mRNAs. Zoe is a participant in the Computer Based Honors program at UA and presented her research at CBH Live in the fall. Christina's work this spring was partially funded by SGA and UCRA grants she received from the University.