Phoebe A Rice
Research Summary / Selected Publications
We combine biochemistry and x-ray crystallography to study protein-DNA interactions and DNA recombination.
Site-specific DNA recombinases: These cut and paste DNA at defined sequences, and are useful genetic tools. They exchange DNA partners via a remarkable molecular swivel. Two favorites are:
(1) Sin, which aids stable maintenance of multi-resistance plasmids of S. aureus. Sin is regulated by the global topology of its plasmid substrate. In collaboration with the Stark group in Glasgow, we are using kinetics, crystallography, and molecular modeling to understand this enzyme at the molecular level.
(2) CcrA/B/C, which mobilize the methicillin-resistance encoding element that turns garden-variety S. aureus into MRSA. Their catalytic domain is related to Sin’s, but their regulation is very different and rather mysterious. This is a local collaboration with Drs. Daum and Boyle- Vavra, who study the epidemiology of MRSA.
“classical” DNA transposases: members of this family are closely related to retroviral integrases. They catalyze the mobility of numerous DNA transposons, contributing to horizontal gene transfer and antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
Rad51 and its prokaryotic counterpart...