04/14/17 - 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Special Seminar: Professor Albert Bowers
"Chemoenzymatic Platforms for the Discovery of New Peptide Therapeutics"
RiPPs are a rapidly growing class of peptide derived natural products. RiPP enzymes carry out remarkable chemistry en route to transforming short peptides into bioactive molecules. We have recently developed new technology for generating large and diverse libraries of RiPP natural products based on the promiscuity of key biosynthetic enzymes from RiPP pathways. Two examples will be presented. First, by employing members of the new pyridine synthase family of macrocyclases, discovered in our lab, we create non-natural analogues of the potent anti-MRSA antibiotics known as thiopeptides to explore their structure activity relationships. Second, we exploit the sactionine synthase AlbA from Bacillus subtilis to design stapled alpha-helical mimics for the inhibition of key therapeutic targets.
Research in Professor Bower's lab is concentrated on the synthesis, assessment, and modification of potential therapeutic leads, especially those derived from natural products. His researchers use chemical synthesis as well as genetic manipulation of the natural biosyntheses to access and modify compounds to study structure-activity relationships (SAR). These efforts involve the integration of basic concepts in organic reaction mechanisms, synthetic organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics and computational chemistry. A major focus of the lab is using genetic information about natural product biosynthesis to manipulate pathways, create new compounds, and rationally modify or improve their pharmacology. Bowers is also interested in recycling natural products, and elicitation and characterization of new natural products.