Department of Biochemistry University of Oxford Department of Biochemistry
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3QU

Tel: +44 (0)1865 613200
Fax: +44 (0)1865 613201
Collage of Drosophila third instar larva optic lobe
Lu Yang, Davis lab
First year Biochemistry students at a practical class
Image showing the global movement of lipids in a model planar membrane
Matthieu Chavent, Sansom lab
Anaphase bridges in fission yeast cells
Whitby lab
Lactose permease represented using bending cylinders in Bendix software
Caroline Dahl, Sansom lab
Epithelial cells in C. elegans showing a seam cell that failed to undergo cytokinesis
Serena Ding, Woollard lab
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News

Protein antibiotic hijacks iron transporter to kill bacterial cells
Schematic showing that the chromatin-modifying complex SET1 is targeted to active genes at CpG islands via its component CFP1 Colin Kleanthous' lab has shown for the first time how a toxin released by bacteria delivers its toxic payload into cells Published: 1 November 2017
Kim Nasmyth 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
Alt Text Our congratulations to Kim Nasmyth on the award of the 2018 Breakthrough Prize ('The Oscars of Science') in Life Sciences. See also: https://breakthroughprize.org/News/41 Published: 4 December 2017
Oxford iGEM team wins Gold medal and Award for Best Diagnostics Project
iGem Logo The 2017 Oxford University iGEM team have just returned from the competition in Boston with not only a Gold medal but also the extremely competitive award for Best Diagnostics Project in the undergraduate category Published: 16 November 2017
Elena Seiradake elected into 2018 EMBO Young Investigator Programme
Elena Seiradake Elena Seiradake has been elected into the 2018 EMBO Young Investigator Programme. This prestigious programme recognises some of Europe's best young scientists and provides academic, practical and financial support to help them realise their potential as world-class researchers Published: 27 October 2017

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Welcome

Mark Sansom, Head of Department

The Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford is a centre for world class research and teaching of all aspects of Biochemistry by staff from many different backgrounds and nationalities. Our research addresses a wide range of questions relating to the fundamental basis of all cellular life from man to microbes. This work explains the structures and functions of proteins and nucleic acids, and in doing so addresses the mechanisms of many human diseases. Using this knowledge, other researchers aim to create new vaccines, antiviral and antibacterial therapies to protect and treat humans across the world.

You can read more about the details of our current work and other aspects of the department, including undergraduate teaching and public outreach activities, on these web pages.

Professor Mark Sansom, Head of Department

News Highlight

Key step in cellular glycosylation revealed in new crystal structure of a Golgi nucleotide sugar transporter

New research by the Newstead group, published in Nature, reveals the first crystal structure for a member of the nucleotide sugar transporter (NST) superfamily and provides fundamental new insights into how glycosylation is regulated in the cell.

In eukaryotes, glycosylation occurs in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. Nucleotide sugars required for glycosylation are imported into the lumen of these organelles by a family of intracellular NSTs. But how NSTs recognize and transport nucleotide sugars has been unclear.

Figure. A. Nucleotide sugar transporters function to shuttle activated sugar donors (sugar-NDP) across the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi membranes. NDP, nucleoside diphosphate; NMP, nucleoside monophosphate. B, Crystal structure of Vrg4 viewed from the Golgi membrane.

Figure. A. Nucleotide sugar transporters function to shuttle activated sugar donors (sugar-NDP) across the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi membranes. NDP, nucleoside diphosphate; NMP, nucleoside monophosphate. B, Crystal structure of Vrg4 viewed from the Golgi membrane (Click to Enlarge)

Now, work from the Newstead lab, has revealed the crystal structure of the yeast GDP-mannose transporter, Vrg4. The structure shows how the monosaccharide, GDP-mannose is recognised by the transporter and identifies new sequence motifs responsible for selecting different types of nucleotide sugar molecules in the cell. Intriguingly, the work also reveals that Vrg4 will only function in the presence of short chain lipid molecules, providing the first experimental evidence that membrane bilayer thickness may regulate intracellular transport in the secretory pathway.

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Seminars

SBMB Seminar Series Verity Jackson, Felipe Ossa, 'SBMB Seminars' Friday 15th Dec, 11:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
OUBS/Biochemistry Department Seminar Series 2017-18 Professor Peijun Zhang, 'Title TBC' Monday 18th Dec, 13:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBMB Seminar Series Henry Sawczyc, Nick Michelarakis, 'SBMB Seminars' Friday 19th Jan, 11:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Biochemistry Department Seminar Professor Jake Baum, 'Title TBC' Monday 22nd Jan, 13:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building


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Athena Swan Silver Award