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Biological Sciences

David Blow Prize success for Dr Ivo Tews

Published: 6 May 2011

Dr Ivo Tews has been awarded the David Blow Prize for Crystallography by the Biological Structures Group (BSG) at the Annual Spring Meeting of the British Crystallographic Association (BCA), held at the University of Keele in April 2011.

Dr Tews, whose research focuses on medically relevant macromolecular complexes, won the award on occasion of a poster presentation entitled: 'Vitamin B6 biosynthesis in bacteria and lower eukaryotes'. To study a large protein complex consisting of 24 proteins, the Tews group combined techniques such as X-ray crystallography, calorimenty and ultracentrifugation, addressing the fundamental question of how Vitamin B6 is synthesised.

Insights into protein complex formation explain how the individual proteins communicate with each other, and how their biological activity is regulated. The research will stimulate development of novel antibiotics, based on essential biosynthetic pathways in pathogenic bacteria and protozoa.

Dr Tews says: "I am very honoured by the award. The prize strengthens our efforts to develop the Structural Biology profile for Southampton. We already have excellent NMR facilities, and the recent success of the National Crystallography Service, based in Chemistry, to secure funding has meant that we could make a technology investment with nanodrop crystallisation facilities now available at the Institute for Life Sciences. These are very positive signals for the University, which has an enourmous potential for structure based biomedical research."

David Blow (1931-2004) was an early pioneer of protein crystallography and founder member of the BCA, an organisation dedicated to highlighting and supporting the importance of crystallography as a vital part of modern research into the structure and properties of materials, ranging across the scientific disciplines.

The prestigious prize, named in David Blow's honour, recognises key research within the field of cellular and molecular biosciences, and its award to Dr Tews demonstrates the innovative nature of research in this area at Southampton.

Related Staff Member

3D crystallographic model of the enzyme complex that synthesises Vitamin B6,  consisting of 24 proteins (or 42,000 atoms) with a total molecular weight of 640 kDa
PLP synthase

References

Structure of a bacterial pyridoxal 5'-phosphate synthase complex.
Strohmeier M, Raschle T, Mazurkiewicz J, Rippe K, Sinning I, Fitzpatrick TB, Tews I.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Dec 19;103(51):19284-9. Epub 2006 Dec 11.
PMID: 17159152 Free PMC Article

Defining the structural requirements for ribose 5-phosphate-binding and intersubunit cross-talk of the malarial pyridoxal 5-phosphate synthase.
Derrer B, Windeisen V, Guédez Rodríguez G, Seidler J, Gengenbacher M, Lehmann WD, Rippe K, Sinning I, Tews I, Kappes B.
FEBS Lett. 2010 Oct 8;584(19):4169-74. Epub 2010 Sep 17.
PMID: 20837012

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