Michael Baldwin, PhD

Associate Professor

Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Contact Information

Email baldwinmr@missouri.edu
Phone 573-884-2915
Address M618 Medical Sciences Bldg


BSc Microbiology Imperial College London London, U.K.
PhD Microbiology University of London London, U.K.

Research Areas

Bacterial pathogenesis, Membrane biochemistry, Structural biology

Research Description

Baldwin’s laboratory is focused on understanding how bacterial pathogens cause disease in the human population. In particular, he is studying botulinum neurotoxins, soluble proteins that readily diffuse from the site of infection to alter neuronal cell function with damaging effects on the intoxicated individual. The central theme of his research is to understand the molecular basis of protein translocation, the process by which the toxin catalytic domain is transported across the endosomal membrane bilayer to the cell cytosol. To pursue this goal, he has developed new spectroscopic and biochemical approaches to study the insertion of toxin into the membrane, which suggest that formation of the membrane-spanning channel involves discrete membrane binding and membrane insertion steps. While the extreme potency of the botulinum toxins poses a severe risk to human health, the highly specific targeting of nerve cells has also enabled their use as effective drugs to treat over 100 human maladies. Thus, investigations into the basic molecular mechanisms of botulinum toxin function has the potential to yield novel therapeutics against intoxication and improve and expand upon the current clinical uses of these molecules.

Selected Publications

O’Neil PT, Machen AJ, Thompson JA, Wang W, Hoang QQ, Baldwin MR, Khar KR, Karanicolas J, Fisher MT. (2019). Constructing Kinetically Controlled Denaturation Isotherms of Folded Proteins Using Denaturant-Pulse Chaperonin Binding. Methods Mol Biol. 1873:293-304. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-8820-4_19. [PubMed]

O’Neil PT, Machen AJ, Deatherage BC, Trecazzi C, Tischer A, Machha VR, Auton MT, Baldwin MR, White TA, Fisher MT. (2018). The Chaperonin GroEL: A Versatile Tool for Applied Biotechnology Platforms. Front Mol Biosci. 5:46. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2018.00046. eCollection 2018. [PubMed]

Burns JR, Lambert GS, Baldwin MR. (2017). Insights into the Mechanisms by Which Clostridial Neurotoxins Discriminate between Gangliosides. Biochemistry. 56(20):2571-2583. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.6b01246. [PubMed]

Lambert GS, Baldwin MR. (2016). Evidence for dual receptor-binding sites in Clostridium difficile toxin A. FEBS Lett. 590(24):4550-4563. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.12487. [PubMed]

Lea WA, O’Neil PT, Machen AJ, Naik S, Chaudhri T, McGinn-Straub W, Tischer A, Auton MT, Burns JR, Baldwin MR, Khar KR, Karanicolas J, Fisher MT. (2016). Chaperonin-Based Biolayer Interferometry To Assess the Kinetic Stability of Metastable, Aggregation-Prone Proteins. Biochemistry. 55(35):4885-908. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.6b00293. [PubMed]

Manse JS, Baldwin MR. (2015). Binding and entry of Clostridium difficile toxin B is mediated by multiple domains. FEBS Lett. 589(24 Pt B):3945-51. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2015.11.017. [PubMed]

Burns JR, Baldwin MR. (2014). Tetanus neurotoxin utilizes two sequential membrane interactions for channel formation. J Biol Chem. 289(32):22450-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.559302. [PubMed]

Clark GF, Grassi P, Pang PC, Panico M, Lafrenz D, Drobnis EZ, Baldwin MR, Morris HR, Haslam SM, Schedin-Weiss S, Sun W, Dell A. (2012). Tumor biomarker glycoproteins in the seminal plasma of healthy human males are endogenous ligands for DC-SIGN. Mol Cell Proteomics. 11(1):M111.008730. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M111.008730. [PubMed]

Benson MA, Fu Z, Kim JJ, Baldwin MR. (2011). Unique ganglioside recognition strategies for clostridial neurotoxins. J Biol Chem. 286(39):34015-22. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.272054. [PubMed]