Texas Tech University

Dr. Robert W. Shaw


Title: Associate Professor Emeritus

Education: Ph.D., 1976, The Pennsylvania State University
Postdoctoral Study, Institute for Enzyme Research, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Research Area: Biochemistry

Email: robert.shaw@ttu.edu

Principal Research Interests

  • Structure and Mechanism of Metalloenzymes
  • EPR Spectroscopic Studies
  • Site-Directed Mutagenesis
  • Drug Discovery
  • Biophysical Chemistry
Professor Shaw's research program involves the study of the structure and function of physiologically important metalloenzymes. Structures of the metal binding sites of these biological molecules are under investigation largely through the use of optical and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Mechanistic details of the functions of metal ions in these proteins are being studied through the use of spectroscopy coupled to rapid kinetic techniques in order to detect short-lived species such as reaction intermediates and enzyme complexes with substrates or inhibitors. Enzyme structure-function relationships are analyzed by site-directed mutagenesis combined with presteady-state spectroscopy and steady-state enzyme kinetic techniques.

Current interest is focused on the metallo-ß-lactamases purified from the pathogenic organism Bacillus cereus. ß-Lactamases catalyze the hydrolytic inactivation of ß-lactam antibiotics such as penicillins and cephalosporins and thereby constitute the major mechanism by which pathogenic bacteria become resistant to such antibiotics. ß-Lactam antibiotics are the most heavily prescribed antibacterial drugs in clinical use today.  In fact, three of the twenty most commonly prescribed drugs in the U. S. fall in this category.  No compounds are available that can inhibit the metallo-ß-lactamases and thereby allow the antibiotics to do their job of killing pathogenic bacteria. Clearly, understanding the reaction mechanisms of ß-lactamases is important to the pharmaceutical industry.

The structural gene for the B. cereus 5/B/6 ß-lactamase has been cloned into an Escherichia coli expression vector and techniques have been devised to purify the hyperexpressed B. cereus enzyme (both wild type and mutant forms) to homogeneity in very high (~90%) yield. Using site-directed mutagenesis techniques and this recombinant construct, a study of the relationship of protein structure to enzymatic function of this enzyme has begun. So far, forty four mutant forms of the enzyme have been expressed and 12 of these purified and characterized.

We have utilized the SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment) technique to generate ss-, ds-DNA and RNA aptamaers of very different sequence that efficiently inhibit the metallo-ß-lactamase.  Experiments are currently underway to elucidate the details of how these compounds inhibit the antibiotic inactivation process.  A 10-residue ss-DNA has been found that very specifically and efficiently inhibits the metallo-ß-lactamase at nanomolar concentrations.  The ds-DNA and RNA aptamers are similarly effective.  Despite the sequence differences between these aptamers, they all appear to inhibit the metallo-ß-lactamase in essentially the same fashion.  Currently, we believe that the aptamers bind at or close enough to the active site metal ions as to either coordinate the metal directly or to otherwise force a change in the metal coordination sphere.

Representative Publications

  • "Inhibition of Bacillus anthracis Metallo-ß-Lactamase by Compounds with Hydroxamic Acid Functionality", S.-K. Kim, M. Demuth, S. R. Schlesinger, S. J. Kim, J. Urbanczyk, R. W. Shaw and H. Shin, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, (2016) 31, 132-137.
  • "Inhibition of metallo-ß-lactamase by double-stranded DNAof metallo-ß-lactamase by double-stranded DNA ," Shaw, R.W.; Cottenoir, M. US Patent #8,143,389, issued March 27, 2012.
  • "Inhibition of Metallo-ß-lactamase by RNA," Shaw, R.W.; Kim, K.M. US Patent #11/663713, issued August 2, 2011.
  • "Inhibition of Metallo-ß-lactamase," Shaw, R.W.; Kim, S.K. US Patent #7,772,388, issued August 10, 2010.
  • "Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria: Novel Metalloenzyme Inhibitors", S.-K. Kim, C. L. Sims, S. E. Wozniak, S. H. Drude, D. Whitson and R. W. Shaw, Chemical Biology and Drug Design 74, 343-348, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
  • "Inhibition of Metallo-ß-lactamase," Shaw, R.W.; Kim, S.K. US Patent #7,456,274 B2 issued November 25, 2008.
  • "Penicillin-Derived Inhibitors That Simultaneously Target Both Metallo- and Serine-ß-lactamases," Buynak, J.D.; Chen, H.; Vogeti, L.;  Gadhachanda, V.R.; Buchanan, C.A.; Shaw, R.W.; Palzkill, T. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2004, 14, 1299-1304.
  • "Sterol Methyltransferase.  Functional Analysis of Highly Conserved Residues by Site-Directed Mutagenesis," Nes, W.D.;  Jayasimha, P.; Zhou, W.; Kanagasabai, R.; Jin, C.; Jaradat, T.; Shaw, R.W.; Bujinicki, J.M. Biochemistry 2004, 43, 569-576.
  • "Conformational Changes in Spin-Labeled Cephalosporin and Penicillin upon Hydrolysis Revealed by Electron Nuclear Double Resonance Spectroscopy", Mustafi, D.; Knock, M.M.; Shaw, R.W.; Makinen, M.W. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1997, 119, 12619-12628.
  • "Hyperexpression in Escherichia coli, Purification and Characterization of the Metallo-ß-Lactamase of Bacillus cereus 5/B/6", Shaw, R.W.; Clark, S.D.; Hilliard, N.P.; Harman, J.G. Prot. Exp. and Pur. 1991, 2, 151-157.
  • "Production, Purification and Spectral Properties of Metal-Dependent ß-Lactamases of Bacillus cereus", Myers, J.L.; Shaw, R.W. Bioch. Biophys. Acta 1989, 995, 264-272.
  • "Cloning, Nucleotide Sequence and Expression of Bacillus cereus 5/B/6 ß-Lactamase II Structural Gene", Lim, H.M.; Pène, J.J.; Shaw, R.W. J. Bacteriol. 1988, 170, 2873-2878.

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry