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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New paper shows how transcription terminates with the help of a phosphatase
The Vasilieva Group New research from Lidia Vasilieva's lab sheds light on how transcription termination in eukaryotes is controlled. The findings are published in Cell Reports and demonstrate that conserved mechanisms are used at different steps of transcription Published: 7th November 2018
iGem Gold Medal Award
The Oxford iGEM team 2018 The 2018 Undergraduate Oxford iGEM team have just returned from Boston with a Gold medal and the award for Best Therapeutics Project along with three other award nominations. The iGEM competition gives interdisciplinary teams of students the opportunity to push the boundaries of synthetic biology whilst tackling everyday issues facing the world Published: 7 November 2018
Biochemistry Department at 'IF', the 2018 Oxford Science Festival, 12-14th October 2018
Alt Text For the first time this year the annual Oxford Science Festival was held in October rather than June, and the Biochemistry Department fronted two stalls in the Town Hall on the weekend 13th and 14thOctober and one in the Weston Library on the afternoon of Friday 12th October Published: 1 November 2018
"The Bacterial World" at the Oxford Natural History Museum
Alt Text An exhibition "The Bacterial World" opens at the Oxford Natural History Museum this Friday and runs until May. It is curated by Judy Armitage with lots of input from Kevin Foster and lots of other bacteriologists around the University. Published: 16 October 2018

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Francis Barr announced as our new
Head of Department

Francis Barr, Head of Department

Francis Barr has been announced as the new Head of the Biochemistry Department with effect from 1st January 2019. He will take over from Professor Mark Sansom after just under 8 highly successful years in charge.

Francis joined the Biochemistry Department in 2011 as the EP Abraham Professor of Mechanistic Cell Biology. His research addresses the mechanism by which human cells regulate cell division and membrane traffic and how dysregulation of these pathways can lead to cancer and other human diseases.

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A record-breaking beta barrel allows protein transport across the bacterial outer membrane

New research from the Berks (Biochemistry) and Lea (Pathology) groups reveals how proteins are transported across the outer membrane of bacteria responsible for severe dental disease (peridontitis). This work, which is published in Nature [1,2], has uncovered an enormous transmembrane beta barrel structure through which the proteins move.

Movies. Electron microscopy density of the PorV (left) and Plug (right) Type 9 protein translocon complexes. The SprA protein is Rainbows coloured, partner proteins are grey. Specular density shows the position of the detergent micelle surrounding the translocon. The complexes are viewed in the same orientation as the Figure below. Movies courtesy of Susan Lea.

Pathogenic bacteria must be able to secrete proteins in order to manipulatetheir host organism. Major oral pathogens in the phylum Bacteroidetes, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, export these proteins across two cell membranes. Protein transport across the outer membrane in these bacteria utilises the recently discovered Type IX Secretion System (T9SS).

All protein transport systems have to provide an aqueous pathway across the otherwise hydrophobic membrane bilayer. However, for the T9SS it was unknown which proteins build this protein conducting pathway, or translocon. A joint effort by Drs. Frédéric Lauber and Justin Deme working in the Berks and Lea groups has now identified the translocon and determined its structure in two mechanistically relevant states.

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Keep in touch with the Department


Microbiology and Systems Biology (MSB) seminars, Department of Biochemistry Jarno Makela, Jonathan Goult, 'The Escherichia coli SMC complex, MukBEF, compacts the chromosome lengthwise by forming a ring-shaped axial filament" and "Translocation Dynamics of Protein Antibiotics across the Outer Membrane of Pseudomonas aeruginosa' Monday 25th Feb, 11:00 Main seminar Room (20-026), New Biochemistry Building
SBMB Seminar Series Muhd Mohd Kipli, Max Epstein, 'SBMB Seminar' Wednesday 27th Feb, 10:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Infection and Disease Processes Seminar Series Mateusz Kotowski, Amber Stewart, 'Part II Talks' Wednesday 27th Feb, 10:00 Howard Schneiderman Room (third floor, call 75344 for entry), Rodney Porter Building
SBCB Seminar Series 'SBCB part II practice talks' Thursday 28th Feb, 14:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building

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Athena Swan Silver Award