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James C. Hu

James C. Hu

Professor

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

2128 TAMU
College Station , TX 77843-2128
Office Phone: (979) 862-4054

Education:

  1. B.S., Stanford University, 1975
  2. Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1987
  3. Postdoc., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987-1992

Biography:

Research Interests:

Protein interaction/Microbial Genomics and Annotation

Multisubunit proteins are involved in every aspect of life. We use biochemical, biophysical, genomic, and molecular genetic approaches to identify and study protein interactions. We are studying two families of proteins to understand how the specificity of assembly is used to distinguish proteins with similar tertiary structures. Leucine zippers are short alpha-helical coiled-coils that hold together the dimers in many eukaryotic transcription factors. LysR-Type Transcriptional Regulators (LTTRs), which form homotetramers, are one of the most common types of bacterial transcription factors. Understanding how leucine zippers and LTTRs form specific homo- and heterooligomers will help us understand the principles of protein architecture and evolution, and may allow us to develop new tools to modulate gene expression.

We are also using a genetic approach to screen whole genomes for new oligomeric proteins and protein domains. We have identified hundreds of oligomerization domains from E. coli, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and two important bacterial pathogens, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We are using these domains to develop new approaches to functional genomics and the discovery of new antibiotics based on blocking the assembly of specific protein complexes.

Our genome-wide studies of protein interactions and E. coli proteomics have led us to appreciate the importance of continuous updating of genome annotation, We are using "new media" to build systems for the scientific community to participate in updating the annotation of every gene from any organism (but with special focus on E. coli).
EcoliWiki an be thought of as "Wikipedia for E. coli", while the Gene Ontology Normal Usage Tracking System (GONUTS) is a wiki to allow scientists to use and understand the Gene Ontology system for functional annotation.

Alumni:

Shabnam Eslamfam