The Rees Lab

A Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Laboratory
in the Division of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology


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Recent Publications

NOTE: Link to an abstract of a publication using PUBMED Abstract or a free PubMed Central article using the PMC number.
Published work on publicly available digital database at MyBibliography URL or Caltech Authors URL

Buscagan, T. M., Perez, K. A., Maggiolo, A. O., Rees, D. C. and Spatzal, T. Structural Characteri-zation of Two CO Molecules Bound to the Nitrogenase Active Site
Angewandte Chem. Intl. Ed.  vol 60, 5704-5707 (2021)
. PMC7920927


Cho, H. J., Kim, K.-S., Kim, H., Kim, T., Malyutin, A., Rees, D., Yoo, B.-K. and Song, C. MicroED Elucidates Water-Specific Polymorphism Induced Emission Enhancement of Bis-Arylacylhydrazone ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, accepted (2021).


Fan, C. and Rees, D.C. Crystal structure of the Escherichia coli transcription termination factor Rho, a crystallization contaminant” Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology Communications F76, pages 398-405 (2020) PMC7470046


Einsle, O, and Rees, D. C. “Structural Enzymology of Nitrogenase EnzymesChem Rev 120, 4969-5004 (2020)

Fan, C., Kaiser, J. T., and Rees, D. C. “A Structural Framework for Unidirectional Transport by a Bacterial ABC Exporter” PNAS 117, 19228-19236 (2020).

Buscagan, T. M. and Rees, D. C. "Rethinking the Nitrogenase Mechanism: Activating the Active Site" Joule 3, 2662-2678 (2019). PMC7451245

Henthorn, J. T., Arias, R. J., Koroidov, S., Kroll, T., Sokaras, D., Bergmann, U., Rees, D. C., and DeBeer. S. "Localized Electronic Structure of Nitrogenase FeMoco Re-vealed by Selenium K-edge High Resolution X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy" J. Am. Chem Soc. 141, 13676-13688 (2019). PMC6716209

Nguyen, P. T., Lai, J. Y., Kaiser, J. T., and Rees, D. C. "Structures of the Neisseria meningitides Methionine-binding Protein MetQ in Substrate-free Form and Bound to L- and D-methionine Isomers" Protein Science 28, 1750-1757 (2019). PMC6739813

Rees, D. C. “William N. Lipscomb 1919-2011” A Biographical Memoir, National Academy of Science (2019).

Wenke, B. B., Spatzal. T., and Rees, D. C. "Site-specific Oxidation State Assignments of the Irons in the [4Fe:4S]2+/1+/0 of the Nitrogenase Fe-protein" Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 58, 3894-3897 (2019) PMC6519357

Nguyen, P., Lai, J. Y., Lee, A. T., Kaiser, J. T., and Rees, D.C. "A Non-canonical Role for the Binding Protein in Substrate Uptake by the MetNI Methionine ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) Transporter" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115, 10596-10604 (2018) PMC6233128

Herrera, N., Makasaev, G, Haswell, E. S., and Rees, D. C. “Elucidating a Role for the Cytoplasmic Domain in the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Mechanosensitive Channel of Large Conductance” Scientific Reports 8, 14566 (2018) PMC6167328

Arias, R. J., Kaiser, J. T., and Rees, D. C. "The 'Speed Limit' for Macro-molecular Cyrstal Growth" Protein Sci 27, 1837 (2018) PMC6222248

Morrison, C. N., Spatzal, T., and Rees, D. C. “Reversible Protonated Resting State of the Nitrogenase Active Site” J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 139, 10856-10862 (2017) PMC5553094 (correction to acknowledgments at PMC5632809)

Segal, H. M., Spatzal, T., Udit, A. K., and Rees, D. C. “Electrochemical and Structural Characterization of Azotobacter vinelandii Flavodoxin II” Protein Science 26, 1984-1993 (2017) PMC5606536

Bavi, N., Cortes, D. M., Cox, C. D., Rohde, P. R., Liu, W. Deitmer, J. W., Bavi, O., Strop, P., Hill, A. P., Rees, D., Corry B., Perozo, E. Martinac, B. “The Role of MscL Amphipathic N. Terminus Indicates a Blueprint for Bilayer-mediated Gating of Mechanosensitive Channels” Nat. Comm. 7, 11984 (2016) PMC4917966

Spatzal, T., Schleisier, J., Burger, E., Sippel, D., Zhang, L., Andrade. S., Rees. D. C., and Einsle, O. “Nitrogenase FeMoco Investigated by Spatially Resolved Anomalous Dispersion Refinement” Nat. Commun. 7, 10902-10909   (2016) PMC4793075

Spatzal, T., Perez, K. A., Howard, J. B., and Rees, D. C. “Catalysis-Dependent Selenium Incorporation and Migration in the Nitrogenase Active Site Iron-Molybdenum Cofactor” eLife 4:e11620 (2015). PMC4755756 

Reading, R., Walton, T. A., Liko, I., Marty, M. T., Laganowsky, A., Rees, D. C., and Robinson, C. V. “The Effect of Detergent, Temperature, and Lipid on the Oligomeric State of MscL Constructs: Insights from Mass Spectrometry” Chemistry & Biology 22, 1-11 (2015).

Mattle, D., Zhang, L., Sitsel, O, Pedersen, L. T., Monceli, M. R., Tadini-Buoninsegni, F., Gourdon, P., Rees, D. C., Nissen, P., and Meloni, G. “A Sulfur-Based Transport Pathway in Cu+-ATPases” EMBO Reports 16, 728-40 (2015). PMC4467857

Nguyen, P. T., Li, Q. W., Kadaba, N. S., Lai, J. Y., Yang, J. G., and Rees, D. C. “The Contribution of Methionine to the Stability of the Escherichia coli MetNIQ ABC Transporter-Substrate Binding Protein Complex” Biol. Chem. 396, 1127-34 (2015). PMC4621241

Morrison, C. N., Hoy, J. A., Zhang, L., Einsle, O. and Rees, D. C. “Substrate Pathways in the Nitrogenase MoFe-protein by Experimental Identification of Small Molecule Binding Sites” Biochemistry 54, 2052-2060 (2015). PMC4590346

Yang, J. G. and Rees, D. C. "The Allosteric Regulatory Mechanism of the E. coli MetNI Methionine ABC Transporter" J. Biol. Chem. 290, 9135-9140 (2015). PMC4423698

Zhang, L., Morrison, C. N., Kaiser, J. T., and Rees, D. C. “Nitrogenase MoFe-protein from Clostridium pasteurianum at 1.08 Resolution: Comparison to the Azotobacter vinelandii MoFe-protein” Acta Cryst. D71, 274-282 (2015). PMC4321486

Tezcan, F. A., Kaiser, J. T., Howard, J. B., and Rees, D. C. "Structural Evidence for Asymmetrical Nucleotide Interactions in Nitrogenase" J. Amer. Chem. Soc.137, 146-149 (2015). PMC4304452

Kamajaya, A., Kaiser, J. T., Lee, J., Reid, M., and Rees, D. C. “The Structure of a Conserved Piezo Channel Domain Reveals a Topologically Distinct beta Sandwich Fold” Structure 22, 1520-1527 (2014). PMC4192063

Wang, K. Sitsel, O, Meloni, G., Autzen, H. E., Andersson, M., Klymchuk, T., Nielsen, A. M., Rees, D. C., Nissen, P., and Gourdon, P. “Structure and Mechanism of Zn2+-transporting P-type ATPases” Nature 514, 518-522 (2014). PMC4259247

Spatzal, T., Perez, K., Einsle, O., Howard, J. B. and Rees, D. C. “Ligand Binding to the FeMo-cofactor: Structures of CO-bound and Reactivated Nitrogenase” Science 345, 1620-1623 (2014). PMC4205161

Walton, T. A., Idigo, C. A., Herrera, N., and Rees, D. C.MscL: Channeling Membrane TensionPflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol 467, 15-25 (2015). PMC2426047

Lee, J. Y, Yang, J. G., Zhitnitsky, D., Lewinson, O. and Rees, D. C. "Structural Basis for Heavy Metal Detoxification by an Atm1-type ABC Exporter" Science 343, 1133-1136 (2014). PMC4151877

Yang, K. Y., Haynes, C. A., Spatzal, T., Rees, D. C., and Howard, J. B. “Turnover-Dependent Inactivation of the Nitrogenase MoFe-Protein at High pH”  Biochemistry 53, 333-343 (2014). PMC3932303

Basta, T., Wu, H.-J., Morphew, M. K., Lee, J., Ghosh, N., Lai, J, Heumann, J. M., Wang, K., Lee, Y. C., Rees, D. C., and Stowell, M. H. B. “Self-Assembled Lipid and Membrane Protein Polyhedral Nanoparticles” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 111, 670-674 (2014). PMC3896197

Meloni, G., Zhang, L., and Rees, D.C. “A transmembrane Type-2-like Cu2+ site in the P1B-3-type ATPase CopB: implications for metal selectivit.ACS Chem. Biol. 9, 116-121 (2014). PMC3947036

Zhang, L., Kaiser, J. T, Meloni, G., Yang, K.Y., Spatzal T., Andrade, S. L., Einsle, O., Howard, J. B., and Rees, D. C. “The Sixteenth Iron in the Nitrogenase MoFe Protein” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 52, 10529-10532 (2013). PMC2891402

Walton, T. A. and Rees, D. C. “Structure and Stability of the C-terminal Helical Bundle of the E. coli Mechanosensitive Channel of Large Conduc-tance Protein Science 22, 1592-1601 (2013). PMC3831674

Howard, J. B., Kechris, K. J., Rees, D. C., and Glazer, A. N. “Multiple Amino Acid Sequence Alignment of Nitrogenase Component 1: Insights into Phylogenetics and Structure-Function Relationships”PLOS One 8, 1-12 (2013). PMC3760896

Pieper, U., Schlessinger, A., Kloppmann, E., Chang, G. A., Chou, J.J., Dumont, M. E., Fox, B. G., Fromme, P., Hendrickson, W. A., Malkowski, M. G., Rees, D. C., Stokes, D. L., Stowell, M. H., Wiener, M. C., Rost, B., Stroud, R. M. Stevens, R. C., and Sali, A. “Coordinating the Impact of Structural Genomics on the Human a-Helical Transmembrane Proteome” Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 20, 135-138, (2013). PMC3645303

Lai, J.Y., Poon, Y.S., Kaiser, J T. and Rees, D.C. "Open and Shut: Crystal Structures of the Dodecylmaltoside Solubilized Mechanosensitive Channel of Small Conductanse from E. coli and H. pylori at 4.4 and 4.1 Resolution" Protein Science 22, 502-209 (2013). PMC3610056

Johnson, E., Nguyen, P.T., Yeates, T.O., and Rees, D. C. “Inward Facing Conformations of the MetNI Methionine ABC Transporters: Implications for the Mechanism of Transinhibition Protein Science 21, 84-96 (2012). PMC3323782

Bobyr, E., Lassila, J.K., Wiersma-Koch, H.I., Fenn, T.D., Lee, J.J., Nikolic-Hughes, I., Hodgson, K.O., Rees, D.C., Hedman, B. and Herschlag, D. "High-resolution Analysis of Zn2+ Coordination in the Alkaline Phosphatase Superfamily by EXAFS and X-ray Crystallography” J. Mol. Biol. 415, 102-117 (2012). PMC3249517

Tirado-Lee, L., Lee, A., Rees, D.C. and Pinkett, H.W. "Classification of a Haemophilus influenzae ABC Transporter HI1470/71 Through Its Cognate Molybdate Periplasmic Binding Protein, MolA" Structure 19, 1701-1710 (2011). PMC3258573

Spatzal, T., Aksoyoglu, M., Zhang, L., Andrade, S.L.A., Schleicher, E., Weber, S., Rees, D.C. and Einsle, O. "Evidence for Interstitial Carbon in Nitrogenase FeMo Cofactor" Science 334, 940 (2011).PMC3268367

Haswell, E.S., Phillips, R. and Rees, D.C. "Mechanosensitive Channels: What Can They Do and How Do They Do It?" Structure 19, 1356-1369 (2011). PMC3203646

Kaiser, J. T., Hu, T., Wiig. J. A., Rees, D. C., and Ribbe, M. W. "Structure of Precursor Bound NifEN: a Nitrogenase FeMo Cofactor maturase/insertase" Science 331, 91-94 (2011). PMC3138709

Gandhi, C. S., Walton, T. A., and Rees, D. C. "OCAM: A New Tool for Studying the Oligomeric Diversity of MscL Channels" Protein Science 20, 313-326 (2011). PMC3048416

Liu, Z., Walton, T. A., and Rees, D. C. “A Reported Archaeal Mechanosensitive Channel is a Structural Homolog of MarR-1” Protein Science 19, 808-814 (2010). PMC2867020

Lewinson, O, Lee, A. T., Locher, K. P., and Rees, D. C. “A Distinct Mechanism for the ABC Transporter BtuCD-BtuF Revealed by the Dynamics of Complex Formation” Nature Struct. Molec. Biol. 17, 332-338 (2010). PMC2924745

Liu, Z., Gandhi, C., and Rees, D. C. "Structure of a Tetrameric MscL in an Expanded Intermediate State" Nature 461, 120-126 (2009). PMC2737600

Lewinson, O., Lee, A. T., and Rees, D. C. “A P-type ATPase Importer that Discriminates between Essential and Toxic Transition MetalsProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106, 4677-4682 (2009).

Rees, D. C., Johnson, E., and Lewinson, O. "ABC Transporters: The Power to Change" Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 10, 218-227 (2009). PMC2830722

Rice, A. E., Mendez, M. J., Hokanson, C. A., Rees, D. C., and Bjorkman, P. J. "Investigation of the Biophysical and Cell Biological Properties of Ferroportin, a Multipass Integral Membrane Protein Iron Exporter" J. Mol. Biol. 386, 717-732 (2009).

Gandhi, C. S. and Rees, D. C. "Opening the Molecular Floodgates" Science 321, 1166-116 (2008). doi:10.1126/science.1162963

Heijne, G. and Rees, D. "Membranes: Reading between the Lines" Curr. Op. Struct. Biol. 18, 403-405 (2008).

Kadaba, N. S., Kaiser, J. T., Johnson, E., Lee, A., and Rees, D. C. “The High-Affinity E. coli Methionine ABC Transporter: Structure and Allosteric Regulation” Science 321, 250-253 (2008). PMC2527972

Lewinson, O., Lee, A. T., and Rees, D. C. “The Funnel Approach to the Precrystallization Production of Membrane Proteins” J. Mol. Biol. 377, 63-73 (2008). doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2007.12.059

Steinbacher, S., Bass, R., Strop, P., and Rees, D. C. “Structures of the Prokaryotic Mechanosensitive Channels MscL and MscS Current Topics in Membranes in Mechanosensitive Ion Channels, Part A (Hamill, O. P. ed) volume 58, 1-24 (2007). doi:10.1016/S1063-5823(06)58001-9

Einsle, O., Andrade, S. L. A., Dobbek, H., Meyer, J., and Rees, D. C. “Assignment of Individual Metal Redox States in a Metalloprotein by Crystallographic Refinement at Multiple X-ray Wavelengths” J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 129, 2210-2211 (2007). PMC2527600

Pinkett, H. W., Lee, A. T., Lum, P., Locher, K. P., and Rees, D. C. “An Inward-Facing Conformation of a Metal-Chelate Type ABC Transporter” Science 315, 373-377 (2007). doi:10.1126/science.1133488

Howard, J. B. and Rees, D. C. “How Many Metals Does it Take to Fix N2? A Mechanistic Overview of Biological Nitrogen Fixation” Prof. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 17088-17093 (2006). doi:10.1073/PNAS.0603978103

Poolman, B., Doeven, M. K., Geertsma, E. R., Biemans-Oldenhinkel, E., Konings, W. N., and Rees, D. C. “Functional Analysis of Detergent-Solubilized and Membrane-Reconstituted ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters” Meth. Enzymol40,429-459 (2005).

Borths, E. L., Poolman, B., Hvorup, R. N., Locher, K. P., and Rees, D. C. In Vitro Functional Characterization of BtuCD-F, the Escherichia coli ABC Transporter for Vitamin B12 Uptake” Biochemistry 44, 16301-16309 (2005). doi:10.1021/bi0513103

Tezcan, F. A., Kaiser, J. T., Mustafi, D., Walton, M. Y., Howard, J. B., and Rees, D. C. “Nitrogenase Complexes: Multiple Docking Sites for a Nucleotide Switch Protein” Science 309, 1377-1380 (2005). doi:10.1126/science.1115653

Andrade, S. L. A., Cruz, F., Drennan, C. L., Ramakrishnan, V., Rees, D. C., Ferry, J. G., and Einsle, O. “Structures of the Iron-Sulfur Flavoproteins from Methanosarcina thermophila and Archaeoglobus fulgidus" J. Bacteriol. 187, 3848-3854 (2005). doi:10.1128/JB.187.11.3848-3854.2005

Rees, D. C., Tezcan, F. A., Haynes, C. A., Walton, M. Y., Andrade, S., Einsle, O., and Howard, J. B. “Structural Basis of Biological Nitrogen Fixation” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 363, 971-984 (2005). doi:10.1098/rsta.2004.1539

Corbett, M. C., Tezcan, F. A., Einsle, O., Walton, M. Y., Rees, D. C., Latimer, M. J., Hedman, B., and Hodgson, K. O. “Mo K– and L–edge X-ray Absorption Spectroscopic Study of the ADP•AIF4– -stabilized Nitrogenase Complex: Comparison with MoFe Protein in Solution and Single Crystal” J. Synchrotron Rad. 12, 28-34 (2005). doi:10.1107/S0909049504027827

Becker, C. F. W., Strop, P., Bass, R. B., Hansen, K. C., Locher, K. P., Ren, G., Yaeger, M., Rees, D. C., and Kochendoerfer, G. G. "Conversion of a Mechanosensitive Channel Protein from a Membrane-Embedded to a Water-Soluble form by Covalent Modification with Amphiphiles" J. Mol. Biol. 343, 747-758 (2004). doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2004.08.062

Nikolic-Hughes, I, Rees, D. C., and Herschlag, D. "Do Electrostatic Interactions with Positively Charged Active Site Groups Tighten the Transition State for Enzymatic Phosphoryl Transfer?" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 126, 11814-11819 (2004). doi:10.1021/ja0480421

Ambroggio, X. I., Rees, D. C., and Deshaies, R. "Jamm: A Metalloprotease-Like Zinc Site in the Proteasome and Signalosome" PLOS Biology 2, 113-119 (2004). doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020002

Bass, R. B., Locher, K. P., Borths, E., Poon, Y., Strop, P., Lee, A., and Rees, D. C. "The Structures of BtuCD and MscS and their Implications for Transporter and Channel Function" FEBS Lett. 555, 111-115 (2003). doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(03)01126-8

Perozo, E. and Rees, D. C. “Structure and Mechanism in Prokaryotic Mechanosensitive Channels” Curr. Op. Struct. Biol. 13, 432-442 (2003). doi:10.1016/S0959-440X(03)00106-4

Locher, K. P., Bass, R. B., and Rees, D. C. “Breaching the Barrier” Science 301, 603-604 (2003).

Rees, D. C. and Howard, J. B. “The Interface between the Biological and Inorganic Worlds: Iron-Sulfur Metalloclusters” Science 300, 929-931 (2003).

Shapovalov, G., Bass, R., Rees, D. C., and Lester, H. A. “Open-State Disulfide Crosslinking between Mycobacterium tuberculosis Mechanosensitive Channel Subunits” Biophys. J. 84, 2357-2365 (2003).

Strop, P., Bass, R., and Rees, D. C. “Prokaryotic Mechanosensitive Channels” in Advances in Protein Chemistry 63, 117-209 (2003).

Borths, E. L., Locher, K. P., Lee, A. T., and Rees, D. C. "The Structure of Escherichia coli BtuF and Binding to its Cognate ATP Binding Cassette Transporter" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99, 16642-16647 (2002). doi:10.1073/pnas.262659699

Bass, R. B., Strop, P., Barclay, M., and Rees, D. C. “Crystal Structure of Escherichia coli MscS, a Voltage-Modulated and Mechanosensitive Channel” Science 298, 1582-1587 (2002).

Schmid. B., Einsle, O., Chiu, H.-J. Willing, A., Yoshida, M., Howard, J. B., and Rees, D. C. "Biochemical and Structural Characterization of the Cross-linked Complex of Nitrogenase: Comparison to the ADP-AIF4- Stabilized Structure" Biochemistry 41, 15557-15565 (2002). doi:10.1021/bi026642b

Einsle, O., Tezcan, A., Andrade, S. L. A., Schmid, B., Yoshida, M., Howard, J. B., and Rees, D. C. “Nitrogenase MoFe-Protein at 1.16 Resolution: A Central Ligand in the FeMo-Cofactor” Science 297, 1696-1700 (2002).

Rees, D. C. "Great Metalloclusters in Enzymology" Ann. Rev. Biochem. 71, 221-246 (2002) doi:10.1146/annurev.biochem.71.110601.135406

Yeh, A. P., Ambroggio, X. I., Andrade, S. L. A., Einsle, O., Chatelet, C., Meyer, J., and Rees, D. C. “High Resolution Crystal Structures of the Wild Type and Cys55 -> Ser and Cys59 -> Ser Variants of the Thioredoxin-like [2Fe-2S] Ferredoxin from Aquifex aeolicusJ. Biol. Chem. 277, 3499-34507 (2002). doi:10.1074/jbc.M205096200

Axelrod, H. L., Abresch, E. C., Okamura, M. Y., Yeh, A. P., Rees, D. C., and Feher, G. (2002) “X-ray Structure Determination of the Cytochrome c2-Reaction Center Electron Transfer Complex from Rhodobacter sphaeroides J. Mol. Biol. 319, 501-515 (2002).

Locher, K. P., Lee, A. T., and Rees, D. C. "The E. coli BtuCD Structure: A Framework for ABC Transporter Architecture and Mechanism" Science 296, 1091-1098 (2002).

Schmid, B., Ribbe, M. W., Einsle, O., Yoshida, M., Thomas, L. M., Dean, D. R., Rees, D. C., and Burgess, B. K. "Structure of a Cofactor-Deficient Nitrogenase MoFe Protein" Science 296, 352-356 (2002).

Spencer, R. H. and Rees, D. C. "The alpha-Helix and the Organization and Gating of Channels" Ann. Rev. Biophys. Biomol. Struct. 31, 207-233 (2002).

Rees, D. C. "Metalloproteins to Membrane Proteins: Biological Energy Transduction Mechanisms" in Structures and Mechanisms: From Ashes to Enzymes (Eaton, G. R., Wiley, D. C., and Jardetzky, O., eds.) ACS Symp. Series 827, Oxford University Press (2002).

Iverson, T. A., Luna-Chavez, C., Croal, L. R., Cecchini, G., and Rees, D. C. "Crystallographic Studies of the Escherichia coli Quinol-Fumerate Reductase with Inhibitors Bound to the Quinol-binding Site" J. Biol. Chem. 277, 16124-16130 (2002).