Dr. Chooback is still teaching Biochemistry classes and a General Chemistry laboratory class along with doing research and collaborating with Drs. William Karsten and Leonard Thomas at OU.
Lysine Biosynthesis in bacteria:
Lysine is an essential amino acid for humans and it has to be obtained through diet.
Bacteria, fungi, and plants synthesize lysine through biosynthetic pathways. In bacteria, lower eukaryotes, and plants, lysine is synthesized via the diaminopimelate (DAP) pathway. The enzyme dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) is catalyzing the first committed step in biosynthesis of L-lysine in vascular plants and bacteria. Previous studies have shown that inhibitors of some of the enzymes in the DAP biosynthetic pathway are known to have antimicrobial activity. The pathway is absent in mammals and, consequently, inhibitors of the DAP pathway are expected to show minimal toxicity to the host. The goal of our project is to elucidate the chemical mechanism of DHDPS. Understanding the chemical mechanism of this enzyme is essential for design of inhibitors which act as antibacterial compounds or herbicides. Currently we are collaborating with Drs. Karsten at OU, and Liu at Lahola University who provide us with additional expertise on enzyme kinetics and protein crystallography.