Wednesday, September 23, 2015

University of Iowa faculty member Mishtu Dey has received a National Science Foundation grant for her research project, “Molecular and Structural Dissection of Methyl Coenzyme M Reductase for Methane Production.” The grant is part of the NSF’s Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM) initiative.

From the abstract: “The objective of this project is to investigate the mechanism of methane formation by MCR and biosynthesis of unusual post-translational modifications (PTMs) present in this globally important metalloenzyme responsible for biological methane production. Here, structural and mechanistic enzymology approaches are used to investigate enzyme-catalyzed C-heteroatom bond activation and biological methylation reactions. The proposed studies may provide important insights into the mechanism of biological methane formation and may illuminate Nature's strategies to carry out unusual PTMs. The knowledge gained from the proposed research offers important insights into how energy-rich molecules, such as methane, are synthesized within the hydrophobic reaction chamber of a buried metalloenzyme active site. The comprehensive structure-function study has applications in bioengineering and bioenergy/biofuel industries.”

Dey is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, part of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.