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
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News

Careers talk highlights the challenges and rewards of academia
Alt Text The first Careers Talk organized jointly by the University Careers Service and the Department attracted over 60 people on October 1st Published: 7 October 2014
Elspeth Garman on 'The Life Scientific'
Professor Elspeth Garman Elspeth Garman will feature on Radio 4's 'The Life Scientific' on Tuesday 7 October at 9am talking to Jim Al-Khalili about her life and work. Published: 3 October 2014
Welcome to our two new group leaders
New Starters Two new group leaders join the Department today, Alfredo Castello and Elena Seiradake Published: 1 October 2014

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Athena Swan Bronze Award

Vacancies

There are two job vacancies available

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Welcome

The Department of Biochemistry

Welcome to the Department of Biochemistry, part of the University of Oxford's Medical Sciences Division. We are one of the largest Biochemistry departments in the world and carry out world-class research and teaching. Our researchers come from a range of disciplines and work in a collaborative environment on all aspects of modern molecular and cellular biochemistry. We hope you enjoy reading more about our activities on these pages.

Professor Mark Sansom, Head of Department

News Highlight

Enzyme from ocean bacteria reveals a unique catalytic cofactor

A serendipitous finding by Oxford researchers has identified novel features of an ecologically important enzyme.

The alkaline phosphatase PhoX is important for bacterial phosphate acquisition in low phosphate environments such as those found in much of the world’s oceans (pink). The structure of PhoX and of its active site are shown with the cofactor iron atoms orange, calcium ions green, and the oxygen atom red. A phosphate ion bound at the active site is shown in stick representation

The alkaline phosphatase PhoX is important for bacterial phosphate acquisition in low phosphate environments such as those found in much of the world’s oceans (pink). The structure of PhoX and of its active site are shown with the cofactor iron atoms orange, calcium ions green, and the oxygen atom red. A phosphate ion bound at the active site is shown in stick representation † (Click to enlarge)

The findings, from Professor Ben Berks' group in Biochemistry and Professor Susan Lea's group in the Dunn School of Pathology, are published in a paper in Science (1). Principal researchers on the work are Chien Yong and Pietro Roversi.

The group's work on the alkaline phosphatase PhoX, which has implications across disciplines ranging from chemistry to microbial ecology, has identified a new and unexpected catalytic cofactor. Structural analysis of PhoX suggests a novel mechanism of action not seen in other phosphatases.

Phosphate-containing macromolecules and metabolites are essential components in all living cells. Under conditions of phosphate deficiency, microorganisms produce alkaline phosphatase enzymes to release phosphate from phosphate-containing organic compounds in the environment.

The map is reproduced with modifications from an image by David Bice at https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth103/node/694 under a creative commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license

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Seminars

Departmental Seminar Professor Ian Hickson, 'How unfinished business from S-phase impacts on mitosis.' Monday 27th Oct, 13:00
SBCB Seminar Series Dr. Philip Biggin, 'Computational Approaches to CNS drug targets [Ongoing Research From the Biggin Laboratory]' Thursday 30th Oct, 14:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building
Biochemistry Department Seminar Professor Charles Dorman, 'Host adaptation and bacterial regulon evolution - a new twist' Monday 3rd Nov, 13:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building
Departmental Seminar James Groves, 'Science Career Seminar: Careers in Technology Transfer' Wednesday 5th Nov, 13:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building


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