Craig A. Behnke

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Membrane proteins, encoded by ~20% of genes in almost all organisms, including humans, are critical for cellular communication, electrical and ion balances, structural integrity of the cells and their adhesions, and other functions. Atomic-resolution structures of these proteins furnish important information for understanding their molecular organization(More)
We report the x-ray crystal structure of human topoisomerase I covalently joined to double-stranded DNA and bound to the clinically approved anticancer agent Topotecan. Topotecan mimics a DNA base pair and binds at the site of DNA cleavage by intercalating between the upstream (-1) and downstream (+1) base pairs. Intercalation displaces the downstream DNA,(More)
Recombinant proteins are widely used today in many industries, including the biopharmaceutical industry, and can be expressed in bacteria, yeasts, mammalian and insect cell cultures, or in transgenic plants and animals. In addition, transgenic algae have also been shown to support recombinant protein expression, both from the nuclear and chloroplast(More)
Mass culture of algae for the production of biofuels is a developing technology designed to offset the depletion of fossil fuel reserves. However, large scale culture of algae in open ponds can be challenging because of incidences of infestation with algal parasites. Without knowledge of the identity of the specific parasite and how to control these pests,(More)
Rhodopsin, a prototypic G protein-coupled receptor responsible for absorption of photons in retinal rod photoreceptor cells, was selectively extracted from bovine rod outer segment membranes, employing mixed micelles of nonyl beta-d-glucoside and heptanetriol. Highly purified rhodopsin was crystallized from solutions containing varying amounts of detergent(More)
High-throughput protein X-ray crystallography offers an unprecedented opportunity to facilitate drug discovery. The key bottlenecks in the path from target gene to three-dimensional protein structure determination are defined. Special emphasis is placed on the concept that drug discovery projects are typically directed at a key protein target whose(More)
Corn Hageman factor inhibitor (CHFI) is a bifunctional 127 residue, 13.6 kDa protein isolated from corn seeds. It inhibits mammalian trypsin and Factor XIIa (Hageman Factor) of the contact pathway of coagulation as well as alpha-amylases from several insect species. Among the plasma proteinases, CHFI specifically inhibits Factor XIIa without affecting the(More)
Microalgae are a promising feedstock for renewable fuels, and algal metabolic engineering can lead to crop improvement, thus accelerating the development of commercially viable biodiesel production from algae biomass. We demonstrate that protein-protein interactions between the fatty acid acyl carrier protein (ACP) and thioesterase (TE) govern fatty acid(More)
Rice weevils (Sitophilus oryzae) use a pectin methylesterase (EC, along with other enzymes, to digest cell walls in cereal grains. The enzyme is a right-handed β-helix protein, but is circularly permuted relative to plant and bacterial pectin methylesterases, as shown by the crystal structure determination reported here. This is the first(More)
A new directed evolution method was used to enhance the thermostability of the wild-type GH11 xylanase 2 (known as BD-11) from Hypocrea jecorina (Trichoderma reesei). Both Look-Through Mutagenesis (LTM™), which is a method for rapidly screening selected positions in the protein sequence for amino acids that introduce favorable properties, and Combinatorial(More)