Peter A. Tipton, PhD



Contact Information

Phone 573-882-7968
Address 204A Schweitzer Hall


AB Chemistry Cornell University Ithaca, N.Y.
PhD Biochemistry University of Wisconsin Madison, Wis.

Research Area

Mechanistic enzymology applied to agriculturally and medically important enzymes.

Research Description

We study the chemical mechanisms of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, to gain a deeper understanding of the physical basis for catalysis and, where appropriate, to provide guidelines for the development of specific and potent inhibitors. These goals come together in our study of enzymes from the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  We are characterizing the enzymes responsible for synthesis of acylhomoserine lactones and alkylquinolones, which the bacteria use as communication molecules to coordinate infectious attacks and growth in biofilms.

We employ a variety of experimental approaches with an emphasis on kinetic studies. The projects offer the opportunity to utilize steady-state and transient-state kinetic methods, including isotope effects; computational chemistry; and organic synthesis.

Notable Honors and Service

  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Treasurer, Biological Chemistry Division of American Chemical Society
  • Organizing Committee, 16th Enzyme Mechanism Conference, 1999
  • Co-Chair, Gordon Research Conference, Enzymes, Coenzymes and Metabolic Pathways, 2004
  • Organizer, 2005 Midwest Enzyme Chemistry Conference
  • Editorial Board, Bioorganic Chemistry

Selected Publications

Hiles, S., Tipton, P. A., and Reed, K.  2018  Sense and Nonsense:  Teaching Journalism and Science Students to be Advocates for Science Literacy and Information Literacy.  Journalism and Mass Communication Educator 74, 212-226.

Tipton, P. A., Su, T., and Hannink, M. 2018. Assembly of PGAM5 into Multimeric Complexes Provides a Mechanism for Allosteric Regulation of Phosphatase Activity. Methods in Enzymology 607, 373-388.

Brown, H. A., Thoden, J. B., Tipton, P. A., and Holden, H. M. 2018. The Structure of Glucose-1-Phosphate Thymidylyltransferase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis Reveals the Location of an Essential Magnesium Ion in the RmlA-type Enzymes. Protein Science 27, 441-450.

Riegert, A. S., Thoden, J. B., Schoenhofen, I. C., Watson, D. C., Young, N. M., Tipton, P. A., and Holden, H. M. 2017. Structural and Biochemical Characterization of PglF from Campylobacter jejuni Reveals and New Mechanism for a Member of the Short Chain Dehydrogenase/Reductase Superfamily. Biochemistry 56, 6030-6040.

Riegert, A. S, Chantigian, D. P., Thoden, J. B., Tipton, P. A., and Holden, H. M. 2017. Biochemical Characterization of WbkC, an N-Formyltransferase from Brucella melitensis. Biochemistry 56, 3657-3668.

Dopkins, B., Tipton, P. A., Thoden, J., and Holden, H. 2016. Structural Studies on a Glucosamine/Glucosaminide N-Acetyltransferase. Biochemistry 55, 4495-4508.

Zhu, J., Lippa, G. M., Gulick, A. M., and Tipton, P. A. 2015. Examining Reaction Specificity in PvcB, a Source of Diversity in Isonitrile-containing Natural Products. Biochemistry 54, 2659-2669.

Wilkins, J. M., McConnell, C., Tipton, P. A., and Hannink, M. 2014. A Conserved Motif Mediates both Multimer Formation and Allosteric Activation of Phosphoglycerate Mutase 5. J. Biol. Chem. 289, 25137-25148.

Kratzer, J. T., Lanaspa, M. A., Murphy, M. N., Cicerchi, C., Graves, C. L., Tipton, P. A., Ortlund, E. A., Johnson, R. J., and Gaucher, E. A. 2014. Evolutionary History and Metabolic Insights of Ancient Mammalian Uricases. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 111, 3763-3768.