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Structural and Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics

Houston, Texas

A BCM research lab.
Structural and Computational Biology & Molecular Biophysics
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John L. Spudich, Ph.D.

John L. Spudich, Ph.D.Professor and Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Director, Center for Membrane Biology

University of Texas-Houston Medical School


B.S. Mathematics, Univ Illinois, Urbana (1967)
Ph.D. Biophysics, Univ California, Berkeley (1976)
Harvard Medical School, Boston (1976-1978) University of California, San Francisco (1978-1980)

Research Interests:

The primary interest in Dr. Spudich's laboratory is the mechanism by which photosensory receptors sense and transmit information concerning the color, intensity, and pattern of light in the environment. They study a widespread class of photoactive receptor proteins (rhodopsins) that consist of seven transmembrane helices connected by interhelical loops. The helices form a pocket for the photosensitive molecule vitamin-A aldehyde (retinal), and the receptor proteins physically couple to protein transducers that relay signals to sensory pathways in the cytoplasm. These photosensitive seven helix proteins are used for visual processes of various degrees of sophistication, ranging from detection of light-dark boundaries,light gradients, and light direction by single-cell microorganisms to high-resolution color image detection by animal eyes.

Selected Publications:

  • Sineshchekov OA, Govorunova EG, Wang J, Li H and Spudich JL. Intramolecular proton transfer in channelrhodopsins. Biophys J, 104(4):807-17 (2013). PubMed
  • Sineshchekov OA, Govorunova EG, Wang J and Spudich JL. Enhancement of the Long-Wavelength Sensitivity of Optogenetic Microbial Rhodopsins by 3, 4-Dehydroretinal. Biochemistry, 51(22):4499-506 (2012). PubMed
  • Spudich EN, Ozorowski G, Schow EV, Tobias DJ, Spudich JL and Luecke H. A transporter converted into a sensor, a phototaxis signaling mutant of bacteriorhodopsin at 3.0 A. J Mol Biol, 415(3):455-63 (2012). PubMed
  • Hou SY, Govorunova EG, Ntefidou M, Lane CE, Spudich EN, Sineshchekov OA and Spudich JL. Diversity of Chlamydomonas channelrhodopsins, Photochem Photobiol, 88(1):119-28 (2011). PubMed
  • Wu M, Tong S, Gonzalez J, Jayarama V, Spudich JL and Zheng L. Structural basis of the Ca2+ inhibitory mechanism of Drosophilia Na+/Ca2+ exchanger CALX and its modification by alternative splicing. Structure, 19(10):1509-17 (2011). PubMed
  • Govorunova EG, Spudich EN, Lane CE, Sineshchekov OA and Spudich JL. New channelrhodopsin with a red-shifted spectrum and rapid kinetics from Mesostigma viride. MBio, 2(3):e00115-11 (2011). PubMed
  • Sasaki J, Takahashi H, Furutani Y, Kandori H and Spudich JL. Sensory rhodopsin-I as a bidirectional switch: opposite conformational changes from the same photoisomerization. Biophys J., 100(9):2178-83 (2011). PubMed

For more publications, see listing on PubMed.

Contact Information:

Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Address: 6431 Fannin St., JFB 1.708
UT Houston Medical School
University of Texas Health Science Center
Houston TX 77030
Phone: 713-500-5458
Fax: 713-500-5499
Additional Links: University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Center for Membrane Biology

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