A side by side of Prof. Rachel Narehood Austin's headshot and Prof. Christina Vizcarra's headshot

On December 31, 2021, Rachel Narehood Austin, Diana T. and P. Roy Vagelos Professor of Chemistry, and Christina Vizcarra, assistant professor of chemistry, published new research in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, titled “An alkane monooxygenase (AlkB) family in which all electron transfer partners are covalently bound to the oxygen-activating hydroxylase.” They co-authored this paper on AlkB, a family of enzymes, with three Barnard College affiliates:  Dahlia Luongo ’23, Shoshana Williams ’20, and Marina Orman ’11.
The researchers explore how this new family of AlkB enzymes, unique in being covalently bound to both of their required electron transfer proteins, functions in chemical reactions. Intriguingly, members of this new family of AlkB enzymes require only NADH for activity. The authors also explain that this family of enzymes is present in some bacterial pathogens that infect humans and how they could facilitate the growth of pathogens in non-host environments.