Dr Jonathan Sellars, (LSI Research Fellow)
(email at email@example.com)
- 1999 - 2003: University of Huddersfield, MChem (Hons) Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry
- 2003 - 2006: University of Durham, EPSRC sponsored PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry
- 2006 - 2008: Sanofi-Aventis Ltd, Research Investigator
- 2008 - 2010: University of Durham, One North East sponsored post-doctoral position
- 2010 - onward: University of Durham, EPSRC Life Sciences Interface Research Fellowship
My research interests lie at the chemical biology interface with an emphasis on developing novel chemical tools to challenge and answer important biological questions. My main research addresses the synthesis of activity based probes to investigate, identify and characterise plant based cytochrome P450 enzymes.
Other research interests concern the development of new synthetic chemistry methodology; radiochemical/heavy label synthesis & application of radiolabels in chemistry and biology and the synthesis of small molecules to support biological applications.
Activity based probes for use with plant Cytochrome P450 enzymes
Almost fifty years ago, cytochrome P450s (P450) in animal cells were discovered by Garfinkel and Klingenberg when they reported the presence of a carbon monoxide-binding pigment which absorbed light at 450 nm in pig and rat liver microsomes treated with sodium dithionite. Subsequently, it became apparent that these enzymes represent a major class of proteins that we now refer to as cytochrome P450-dependent monooxygenases that have been identified in bacteria, insects, plants, fish, mammals, and fungi. As a direct result of their importance, particularly in drug and xenobiotic metabolism, a great deal of research has been conducted into the roles, identification of the sequences and the catalytic mechanisms of animal and bacterial P450s. Plant P450s on the other hand have been largely neglected and were only positively identified fifteen years after their first description in animals. They too catalyse a myriad of reactions from the synthesis of plant products such as phenylpropanoids, alkaloids, terpenoids, lipids, cyanogenic glycosides and glucosinolates to the metabolism of herbicides. Plant P450s are therefore enzymes of major interest to natural product and crop protection chemists.
Our research looks to synthesise chemical probes capable of being utilised in plant cells to directly and selectively identify P450 proteins in planta, based on their oxidative function.
 Jonathan D. Sellars et al., Org. Biomol. Chem., 2010, DOI: 10.1039/b920443a