Research Network for Metals in Medicine



Dr James De Voss

Affiliation: School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences, University of Queensland

Postal Address:
Faculty of Biological and Chemical Sciences
The University of Queensland
Queensland, 4072

Phone: +61 (07) 3365 3825
Fax: +61 (07) 3364 4273
Webpage: Dr James De Voss

Research Profile

My group is interested in problems at the interface of chemistry and biology. We apply chemical principles and techniques to understanding biologically important reactions. We are broadly interested in the way in which nature makes various compounds and in the enzymes that are involved in these pathways.
One group of enzymes that we work with are the cytochrome P450s. These are oxidative proteins that contain a prosthetic haem group and catalyse a fascinating array of transformations which range from simple epoxidations all the way through to oxygen insertion into unactivated C-H bonds and C-C bond cleavage. P450s are essentially ubiquitous in nature and we have projects involved with several bacterial P450s, fruit-fly P450s (in collaboration with Prof. W. Kitching) and some human P450s (in collaboration with Dr. E. Gillam).
We also work on the biosynthesis of bacterial siderophores, small organic molecules that bind iron tightly. These are essential for the survival of the bacteria as they represent a way of obtaining iron which, because of its low solubility, is generally scarce in the environment in useable form. Mycobactins are produced by various mycobacteria including the pathogens M. tuberculosis and M. paratuberculosis and pyochelin is made by Pseudomonas aerugionosa. We are currently investigating the structure and biosynthesis of these two types of siderophre.
As the work carried out in my group is at the interface of chemistry and biology we use techniques that are drawn from both disciplines including recombinant DNA technology, protein purification and structure determination, organic synthesis, and small molecule structure determination by MS, NMR etc.

Selected Publications

  1. Schwartz, B. D. and De Voss, J. J. (2001) Structure and Absolute Configuration of Mycobactin J Tetrahedron Lett., 21, 3653-55.
  2. Stok, J. E., Lang, C.S., Schwartz, B. D., Fletcher, M.T., Kitching, W. and De Voss, J. J. (2001) Carbon Hydroxylation of Alkyltetrahydro- pyranols: A Paradigm for Spiroacetal Biosynthesis in Bactrocera sp. Org. Lett, 3: 397-400.
  3. Stok, J. E. and De Voss, J.J. (2000) Expression, purification, and characterization of biol: A carbon-carbon bond cleaving cytochrome P450 involved in biotin biosynthesis in Bacillus subtilis Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 384 351-360.
  4. De Voss, J. J., Rutter, K., Zhu, Q., Schroeder, B. G. and Barry, C. E. B. III (2000) The Salicylate-derived Mycobactin Siderophores of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are Essential for Growth in Macrophages. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 97, 1252-57.