Protein Crystallography and Bacterial Resistance

Shahram Misaghi :

Mentor: Robert M. Glaeser, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The goal of Shahram's Senior Honors Thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology is to obtain a detailed picture of the structure of a novel protein, called Acr A, that has recently been discovered to play an essential role in bacterial resistance to certain antibiotics. Using the technique of protein crystallography, Shahram plans to purify large amounts of Acr A protein from bacteria, crystallize the protein, and then study the chemical structure of this protein. His intention is to identify potential weak points that can be attacked by additional drugs, disabling the process by which the bacteria are able to maintain a high level of resistance to otherwise beneficial antibiotics. By discovering the relationship between the protein's structure and its biochemical function, Shahram hopes to contribute knowledge that will have important applications in the development of medically useful drugs.