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  The work of Prof. A. James Link on lasso peptides has recently been published. The study demonstrates the conformational switching of the lasso peptide benenodin-1, a natural product, upon actuation by heat. The work has been profiled on the Princeton homepage.
The Link lab has used bioinformatic techniques to find a new class of lasso peptides in water-dwelling bacteria. A characteristic of the gene clusters that encode these lasso peptides is a gene encoding a lasso peptide isopeptidase, which recognizes the knotted structure of a lasso peptide and cleaves it into a linear peptide.
Catenanes are interlocked molecules in which constituents are held together by mechanical bonds rather than covalent bonds. A catenane with 3 interlocking rings (a [3]catenane) was built by enzymatically cleaving a variant of the lasso peptide microcin J25. The cleaved peptides self-assembled into the [3]catenane shown here, the structure of which was determined by NMR.
Grad student Mikhail Maksimov *15 and Professor Jamie Link have isolated and characterized an enzyme, lasso peptide isopeptidase, that “unties” the lasso structure. This enzyme suggests additional layers of regulation or perhaps new functions for lasso peptides.
Professor Jamie Link and grad student Frank Piscotta, in collaboration with the Liu group at Texas A&M, have provided the first demonstration that unnatural amino acids can be introduced into the antimicrobial lasso peptide microcin J25. Four different amino acids were tolerated at four different positions, and all 16 of these variants retained antimicrobial activity.
A. James Link, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has taken on the role of CBE’s undergraduate representative (“Departmental Representative”, or “DepRep”, in Princeton parlance), effective July 1.  As DepRep, Link oversees CBE’s B.S.E. program and all departmental undergraduate matters.  Link takes the DepRep reins from Bruce Koel, who completed three years of service as DepRep on June 30.
In their meeting this past week, the Trustees of Princeton University approved the promotion of A. James Link to Associate Professor with continuing tenure, effective July 1, 2013.  Congratulations, Jamie!
A. James Link, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been named a 2013 Sloan Fellow, in the field of chemistry.  The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation established the Fellowships in 1955 to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. These two-year fellowships are awarded “in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field”, and come with a
The January 18 issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly, mailed to all Princeton alumni, carried as an insert the Winter 2012 issue of the EQuad News, dedicated to “Exploring the Intersection between Engineering and Health”, in which several CBE faculty members were prominently featured.  An article on “Designing New Biological Molecules to Fight Bacteria and Cancer” described the experimental work in the group of Assistant Professor A. James Link on designing antimicrob
A. James Link, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been named one of 18 new DuPont Young Professors worldwide. This distinction is accompanied by a research award of $75,000, for Link’s work on applications of unnatural amino acids in proteins, and directed evolution of biomolecules. The DuPont Young Professor program, which began in 1967, is designed to provide start-up assistance to promising young and untenured research faculty working in areas of interest to
Block copolymer nanoparticles undergo rapid thermal cycling in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), including temperatures that reach as high as 95 °C. The high temperature treatment causes the nanoparticles to disassemble since the core of the particles is held together only by non-covalent forces.
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering A. James Link, working with CBE graduate student Siyan Zhang and the group of Michael McAlpine (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), has developed a prototype bioelectronic device that can permit the selective detection of low levels of pathogenic bacteria in water or other aqueous media, such as test solutions of pharmaceutical compounds. By integrating antimicrobial peptides with capacitive microelectrode arrays, bacterial concentrat
The School of Engineering and Applied Science honored A. James Link with the E. Lawrence Keyes, Jr./Emerson Electric Co. Faculty Advancement Award on May 10, 2010. The award recognizes young faculty members who have established vibrant teaching and research programs early in their careers at Princeton.
A. James Link, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and associated faculty in Molecular Biology, has been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Microcin J25 is a small 21-residue antimicrobial peptide exhibiting an interesting "lasso" motif whereby the N-terminal glycine 1 is covalently bonded via a peptide bond to the glutamic acid 8 sidechain to form a loop through which the C-terminus is threaded and sterically locked in place by bulky aromatic groups either side of the ring.
Rochelle Murray's senior thesis project puts her on the font lines of a hot research area: the transmuting of waste material into clean-burning fuel.