Donald M. Kurtz, Jr.Distinguished Research Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Professor Kurtz received his B.S. from the University of Akron in 1972 and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1977. He was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and Assistant Professor at Iowa State University before joining the Georgia faculty in 1986. He was an NIH Research Career Development Awardee during 1988-1993, received the University of Georgia Creative Research Medal in 1996, and was appointed Distinguished Research Professor in 2001.
We are interested in understanding the molecular determinants of the structure, and function, of non-heme iron proteins. Our approach to these goals incorporates interdisciplinary training in inorganic chemistry, spectroscopy, biochemistry, and microbiology. Much of our current research focuses on non-heme iron enzymes that combat oxidative stress in air-sensitive bacteria. Rubrerythrin, a non-heme iron protein
from anaerobic sulfate-reducing bacteria has the ability to catalyze reduction of hydrogen peroxide to water. We have solved the X-ray crystal structure of the reduced form of rubrerythrin (the form reacting with hydrogen peroxide), which revealed an unprecedented redox-induced ligand switching of one of the iron atoms between glutamate and histidine. We have also discovered and characterized a ferric-peroxo intermediate in a superoxide reductase from the same organism. Finally we have embarked on a project to characterize bacterial dioxygenases, which oxidize aromatic substrates by incorporation of both atoms of
molecular oxygen, and which could be useful for bioremediation.
"Role of rubrerythrin in the oxidative stress response of Porphyromonas gingivalis," Sztukowska, M.; Bugno, M.; Travis, J.; Kurtz, D. M., Jr. Mol. Microbiol.,2002, 44, 479-488.
"Kinetics and mechanism of superoxide reduction by two-iron superoxide reductase from Desulfovibrio vulgaris," Emerson, J.P.; Coulter, E.D.; Cabelli, D.E.; Phillips, R. S.; Kurtz, D. M., Jr. Biochemistry, 2002, 41, 4348-4357.
"X-ray crystal structure of benzoate 1,2-dioxygenase reductase from Acinetobacter sp. Strain ADP1," Karlsson, A.; Beharry, Z. M.; Eby, D. M.; Coulter, E. D.; Neidle, E. L.; Kurtz, D. M., Jr.; Eklund, H.; Ramaswamy, S., J. Mol. Biol., 2002, 318, 261-272.