The Brown Group
The aims of the Brown group are to investigate the structures and catalytic mechanisms of bacterial enzymes that confer resistance to some antibiotics. This research is done in collaboration with the crystallographers Professor Brian Sutton and Dr. Anna Davies also of the Structural Biology Section
We are studying a group of such enzymes, acetyltransferases, that are produced by a wide variety of bacteria protecting them against antibiotics such as phosphinothricin. By combining knowledge of the 3D X-ray crystallographic structures of these enzymes with kinetic studies and the properties of bacteria, mutated so that they are unable to produce the acetyltransferases, we are improving our understanding of the physiological roles of the enzymes, their reaction mechanisms and the structural features that determine their specificity and catalytic activity.
These studies will help us to design novel antibiotics that act as chemical inhibitors of the acetyltransferases, undermining their role in protecting the bacteria.