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
Header picture

News

Alison Woollard takes the CHRISTMAS LECTURES to the Far East
The impressively big set at MediaCorp. Credit: the Royal Institution Alison Woollard travelled East this Summer to entertain youngsters with her 'Life Fantastic' lectures Published: 16 September 2014
New ways to connect proteins and study their plasticity
Structures of three Love-Hate ligands in complex with streptavidin. Graphic: Karl Harrison Two recent papers from Mark Howarth, Michael Fairhead and colleagues describe how they have exploited one of the most widely used tools in biomedical research. Published: 2 September 2014
Hans Krebs Tower demolition underway
Photo: Jeremy Rowntree The start of the demolition of the Hans Krebs Tower has been marked by a ceremony on August 18th. Published: 21 August 2014

All News Items

Athena Swan Bronze Award

Vacancies

There are five job vacancies available

Share This

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

Read more

Search

 

PhD Studentships

Studentships Available

Alumni      

Keep in touch with the Department

Seminars

Special Seminar Dr. Wolfgang Fischle, 'Molecular analysis of histone modification readout' Wednesday 24th Sep, 11:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBCB Seminar Series Julia Busch, 'Breaking SAS-6 Dimerisation: A project in the making' Thursday 25th Sep, 14:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building
Departmental Seminar Deepa Nath, 'Careers Talk' Wednesday 1st Oct, 12:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBCB Seminar Series Eiji Yamamoto, 'Anomalous dynamics of pleckstrin homology domains on a lipid membrane surface' Thursday 9th Oct, 14:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building


All Seminars