Professor Richard Pickersgill
Location: Room 1.02, Fogg Building
Professor of Structural Biology, Head of School
Phone: +44 (0)20 7882 8882
The Pickersgill structural biology group studies the structure and function of proteins, enzymes and molecular machines using integrative structural biology. Our principal structural method is crystallography, but we also solve structures using NMR spectroscopy, and explore large structures using transmission electron microscopy. In addition, we use a range of other spectroscopic, thermodynamic, biophysical and biochemical (kinetic/mechanistic) techniques.
Current major research themes include:
- Cobalamin biosynthesis
Cobalamin is a complex coenzyme associated with reactions utilising the unique chemistry of its carbon-cobalt bond. The structural complexity of cobalamin is reflected in an elaborate biosynthetic pathway, which deploys thirty enzymes for its synthesis. We are studying complexes of the enzymes and their substrates and products to understand the chemistry involved.
- The bacterial type II secretion system
This secretion system is responsible for both loss of human life and crop spoilage threatening food security. We are unravelling interactions essential for the correct assembly of this secretion system and studying molecules and complexes using X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and cryo-TEM analysis.
- Bacterial microcompartments
Metabollosomes (bacterial microcompartments) are proteinaceous compartments in bacteria harbouring metabolic pathways. We are studying the structure, assembly and function of shell proteins and understanding how they assemble into microtubes and microcompartments. We are also concerned with synthetic biology applications of enzymes and bacterial microcompartment proteins.
Collaborators include Professor Martin J. Warren (University of Kent) and Dr Vladimir Shevchik (University of Lyon, France).