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Three-part toxin pump

Research Achievements

Three-part toxin pump

Ed Yu (IGERT faculty advisor, Chemistry and Physics, ISU) led an interdisciplinary team of biochemists, physicists and structural biologists in an effort that obtained high resolution structures for two parts of a three-part system that pumps toxins from bacteria and allows them to resist antibiotics. In Sept 2010, Yu and his research team described the first part of the pump - the inner membrane transporter known as CusA - in a paper published in the prestigious journal Nature. In Feb 2011, they published another paper in Nature describing how the inner membrane transporter interacts with the pump's middle adapter, known as CusB. This was "a remarkable achievement," according to Jean Chin, who oversees structural biology grants at the NIH. ISU IGERT trainees Scott Boyken and Michael Zimmerman, and faculty, Robert Jernigan contributed to the success of the interdisciplinary project, which is a significant step toward a better understanding of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.