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Centre for Extremophile Research

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Dr David Hough

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Dr David HoughMy research interests are centred on extremophiles and include both fundamental and applied aspects. Our understanding of the molecular basis of enzyme stability and activity at extreme temperature, pH and ionic strength remains incomplete. For a number of years we have used the enzyme citrate synthase as a model, and in current projects we are combining site-specific mutagenesis and X-ray crystallography with both laboratory investigations of enzyme stability and computational approaches. Central metabolic pathways in extremophiles show a number of novel features. We are investigating glucose metabolism in thermophilic archaea via the modified Entner Doudoroff pathway. We have identified a phenomenon termed Metabolic Pathway Promiscuity, and we are using a combination mSulfolobus KDG aldolaseutagenesis and structural studies to understand this at the level of the individual enzymes of the pathway. Because of their increased stability, enzymes from extremophiles have potential in a wide range of biotechnological applications. We have several projects in this area, including enzymes for biotransformation reactions (aldolases, dehydrogenases, dehydratases) and for the conversion of agricultural crops into biofuels and chemical intermediates.


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