- BS in Chemistry with Computer Science. University of Southampton, UK (1987)
- PhD in Computational Chemistry. University of Southampton, UK (1991)
- MBA in Entrepreneurship. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (2004)
- Postdoctoral Fellow. CRC Medical Oncology Unit, Southampton, UK (1991)
- Director of Bioinformatics. EraGen Biosciences, Madison, WI (1997)
My work exploits my interests in combining computational/modelling approaches with biology, chemistry and physics to learn about the world around us. Research applications of this philosophy are applied in two ways: to better understand experimental data and to guide further work according to predictions of the models we use.
The recent additions of whole genome sequences for several vertebrates is providing a remarkable opportunity to examine the evolution of higher organisms in detail. My current focus is to organize this information with data from different scientific disciplines such as molecular and structural biology, bioinformatics, and chemistry to provide a highly integrated historical representation of the evolution of life on earth. Such detailed databases create several opportunities. They allow us to:
- sharply question what we know about the underlying evolutionary models that we use on a day-to-day basis
- create new models that help us to understand the process and mechanics of life more clearly
This fundamental research is supported by test cases and applications that apply these models to scientific questions surrounding human health. These include outbreaks of infectious diseases (SARS), generating tools to predict the functional consequences of single nucleotide polymorphisms (Cystic Fibrosis), and the molecular evolution and natural history of placental mammals in response to changing environments (prostate development and hypertension sensitivity).
Analysis of transitions at two-fold redundant sites in mammalian genomes. Transition redundant approach-to-equilibrium (TREx) distance metrics
Li, T; Chamberlin, SG; Caraco, MD; Liberles, DA; Gaucher, EA; Benner, SA
BMC Evol. Biol.
6 25 (2006)
Background: The exchange of nucleotides at synonymous sites in a gene encoding a protein is believed to have little impact on the fitness of a host organism. This should be especially true for synonymous transitions, where a pyrimidine nucleotide is replaced by another pyrimidine, or a purine is replaced by another purine. This suggests that transition redundant exchange ( TREx) processes at the third position of conserved two-fold codon systems might offer the best approximation for a neutral molecular clock, serving to examine, within coding regions, theories that require neutrality, determine whether transition rate constants differ within genes in a single lineage, and correlate dates of events recorded in genomes with dates in the geological and paleontological records. To date, TREx analysis of the yeast genome has recognized correlated duplications that established a new metabolic strategies in fungi, and supported analyses of functional change in aromatases in pigs. TREx dating has limitations, however. Multiple transitions at synonymous sites may cause equilibration and loss of information. Further, to be useful to correlate events in the genomic record, different genes within a genome must suffer transitions at similar rates. Results: A formalism to analyze divergence at two fold redundant codon systems is presented. This formalism exploits two-state approach-to-equilibrium kinetics from chemistry. This formalism captures, in a single equation, the possibility of multiple substitutions at individual sites, avoiding any need to "correct" for these. The formalism also connects specific rate constants for transitions to specific approximations in an underlying evolutionary model, including assumptions that transition rate constants are invariant at different sites, in different genes, in different lineages, and at different times. Therefore, the formalism supports analyses that evaluate these approximations. Transitions at synonymous sites within two-fold redundant coding systems were examined in the mouse, rat, and human genomes. The key metric (f(2)), the fraction of those sites that holds the same nucleotide, was measured for putative ortholog pairs. A transition redundant exchange ( TREx) distance was calculated from f(2) for these pairs. Pyrimidine-pyrimidine transitions at these sites occur approximately 14% faster than purine-purine transitions in various lineages. Transition rate constants were similar in different genes within the same lineages; within a set of orthologs, the f(2) distribution is only modest overdispersed. No correlation between disparity and overdispersion is observed. In rodents, evidence was found for greater conservation of TREx sites in genes on the X chromosome, accounting for a small part of the overdispersion, however. Conclusion: The TREx metric is useful to analyze the history of transition rate constants within these mammals over the past 100 million years. The TREx metric estimates the extent to which silent nucleotide substitutions accumulate in different genes, on different chromosomes, with different compositions, in different lineages, and at different times.
Solution structure of the mEGF/TGF alpha(44-50) chimeric growth factor
Chamberlin, SG; Brennan, L; Puddicombe, SM; Davies, DE; Turner, DL
Euro. J. Biochem.
268 (23) 6247-6255 (2001)
The solution structure of the growth factor chimera mEGF/TGF alpha (44-50) has been determined using an extended version of the DYANA procedure for calculating structures from NMR data. The backbone fold and preferred orientation of the domains of the chimera are similar to those found in previous studies of EGF structures, and several H-bonds used as input constraints in those studies were found independently in the chimera. This shows that the modified activity of the chimera does not result from a major structural change. However, the improved precision of the structure presented here allows the origin of some unusual chemical shifts found in all of these compounds to be explained, as well as the results obtained from some site-specific mutants. Further studies of the properties of this chimeric growth factor should help to elucidate the mechanism(s) of hetero- and homodimerization of the c-erbB receptors.
Beyond BLAST: Paleogenomics tools to infer function to genetic sequences.
Benner, S; Chamberlin, S
Am. J. Hum. Genet.
67 (4) 260-260 (2000)
Functional inferences from reconstructed evolutionary biology involving rectified databases. An evolutionarily-grounded approach to functional genomics.
Benner, SA; Chamberlin, SG; Liberles, DA; Govindarajan, S; Knecht, L
151 (2) 97-106 (2000)
If bioinformatics tools are constructed to reproduce the natural, evolutionary history of the biosphere, they offer powerful approaches to some of the most difficult tasks in genomics, including the organization and retrieval of sequence data, the updating of massive genomic databases, the detection of database error, the assignment of introns, the prediction of protein conformation from protein sequences, the detection of distant homologs, the assignment of function to open reading frames, the identification of biochemical pathways from genomic data, and the construction of a comprehensive model correlating the history of biomolecules with the history of planet Earth.
A unified model of c-erbB receptor homo- and heterodimerisation
Chamberlin, SG; Davies, DE
Biochim. Biophys. Acta
1384 (2) 223-232 (1998)
The c-erbB receptor tyrosine kinase family plays an important role in cell regulation. Receptor activation proceeds by the formation of receptor homo- and/or hetero-dimers and is promoted by the binding of a cognate ligand at the cell surface. While some experimental work has demonstrated that the formation of heterodimers can influence a cellular response, the extent of heterodimerisation has not been accurately assessed: the assortment of receptors and ligands gives rise to a complex combinatorial system for which intuitive prediction of homo- and hetero-dimerisation is difficult. We present a mathematical model which combines observations for homo-dimerisation with the additional interactions arising from the presence of multiple c-erbB receptors. We provide a simple explanation for the apparently conflicting results for binding studies carried out with either solubilised receptors, vesicles or cells and our model predicts binding behaviour which is compatible with published experimental findings for cells expressing either one or two c-erbB receptors. This model establishes the basis for interpretation of ligand binding experiments, where variations in the apparent ligand affinity can be attributed to changes in receptor expression or ligand preferences according to the binding profile. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Structure prediction in a post-genomic environment: A secondary and tertiary structural model for the initiation factor 5A family
Gerloff, DL; Joachimiak, M; Cohen, FE; Cannarozzi, GM; Chamberlin, SG; Benner, SA
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm.
251 (1) 173-181 (1998)
Two predictions have been prepared for the fold of initiation factor 5A (IF5A) starting from a set of homologous sequences. In the first, a secondary structural model was predicted for the protein in 1994, when only eleven homologs land no eubacterial homologs) had been sequenced. The second was made recently, after genome projects had generated a total of 33 sequences for the protein family from species of all three kingdoms of life. With the second set of sequences, but not with the first, it was possible to predict that the N-terminal domain of the protein folds in a possibly open beta-barrel/sandwich core structure, with a short helix capping one side of the barrel. We place the pair; of predictions in the public domain before an experimental structure is known. This example illustrates the impact of genome sequencing projects on structure prediction from sequence alignments. (C) 1998 Academic Press.
Structure-function studies of ligand-induced epidermal growth factor receptor dimerization
Neelam, B; Richter, A; Chamberlin, SG; Puddicombe, SM; Wood, L; Murray, MB; Nandagopal, K; Niyogi, SK; Davies, DE
37 (14) 4884-4891 (1998)
We present a novel 96-well assay which we have applied to a structure-function study of epidermal growth factor receptor dimerization. The basis of the assay lies in the increased probability of EGFRs being captured as dimers by a bivalent antibody when they are immobilized in the presence of a cognate ligand. Once immobilized, the antibody acts as a tether, retaining the receptor in its dimeric state with a resultant 5-7-fold increase in binding of a radiolabeled ligand probe. When the assay was applied to members of the EGF ligand family, murine EGF, transforming growth factor alpha, and heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor were comparable with human EGF (EC50 = 2nM); betacellulin, which has a broader receptor specificity, was slightly less effective. In contrast, amphiregulin (AR(1-84)), which has a truncated C-tail and lacks a conserved leucine residue, was ineffective unless used at >1 mu M. We further probed the involvement of the C-tail and the conserved leucine residue in receptor dimerization by comparing the activities of two genetically modified EGFs (the chimera mEGF/TGF alpha(44-50) and the EGF point mutant L47A) and a C-terminally extended form of AR (AR(1-90)) with those of two other unrelated EGF mutants (I23T and L15A). The potency of these ligands was in the order EGF > I23T > mEGF/TGF alpha(44-50) > L47A = L15A much greater than AR(1-90) > AR(1-84). Although AR was much worse than predicted from its affinity, this defect could be partially rectified by co-localization of the immobilizing antibody with heparin. Thus, it seems likely that AR cannot dimerize the EGFR unless other accessory molecules are present to stabilize its functional association with the EGFR.
Determination of solution structures of paramagnetic proteins by NMR
Turner, DL; Brennan, L; Chamberlin, SG; Louro, RO; Xavier, AV
Euro. Biophys. J. Biophys. Lett.
27 (4) 367-375 (1998)
Standard procedures for using nuclear Overhauser enhancements (NOE) between protons to generate structures for diamagnetic proteins in solution from NMR data may be supplemented by using dipolar shifts if the protein is paramagnetic. This is advantageous since the electron-nuclear dipolar coupling provides relatively long-range geometric information with respect to the paramagnetic centre which complements the short-range distance constraints from NOEs. Several different strategies have been developed to date, but none of these attempts to combine data from NOEs and dipolar shifts in the initial stages of structure calculation or to determine three dimensional protein structures together with their magnetic properties. This work shows that the magnetic and atomic structures are highly correlated and that it is important to have additional constraints both to provide starting parameters for the magnetic properties and to improve the definition of the best fit. Useful parameters can be obtained for haem proteins from Fermi contact shifts; this approach is compared with a new method based on the analysis of dipolar shifts in haem methyl groups with respect to data from horse and tuna ferricytochromes c. The methods developed for using data from NOEs and dipolar shifts have been incorporated in a new computer program, PARADYANA, which is demonstrated in application to a model data set for the sequence of the haem octapeptide known as microperoxidase-8.
Targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor for therapy of carcinomas
Davies, DE; Chamberlin, SG
51 (9) 1101-1110 (1996)
As a group, the carcinomas represent a substantial proportion of all human malignancies, but, with relatively few exceptions, current treatments are ineffective. Modification of existing chemotherapeutic agents has not led to significant improvements in the survival of carcinoma patients, and development of new therapeutic strategies is imperative. It is now becoming apparent that activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) has much wider implications than a straightforward stimulation of cell division. The pleiotropic effects of EGF-R signalling may influence tumour behaviour and the response of carcinomas to treatment; these are important considerations for the development of new therapies that aim to exploit the expression or modulate the function of the EGF-R in these tumours.
(View all publications by Stephen Chamberlin)