Keywords
Last Name

Sean Elliott, PhD

TitleProfessor
InstitutionBoston University College of Arts and Sciences
DepartmentChemistry
Address24 Cummington Mall
Boston MA 02215
Phone(617) 358-2816
Fax(617) 353-6466
 Research Expertise & Professional Interests
Sean Elliott investigates the connection between biological electron transfer chemistry and function of redox active proteins and enzymes, by using direct electrochemistry and spectroscopy. He joined the Department of Chemistry in 2002, following an EMBO Post-doctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford. A recipient of the Gitner and Templeton Awards within the College of Arts and Sciences, he was promoted to Associate Professor of Chemistry in 2008.

The Elliott Group investigates the interplay between biological systems and redox-active species (e.g., metal ions, organic radicals, disulfide bonds, reactive oxygen species). Our emphasis is on the kinetic and thermodynamic basis for catalytic redox chemistry, as well as the molecular impact of metal ions and reactive oxygen species upon cells.

Bioelectrochemistry of Complex Metalloenzymes – The Elliott Group uses electrochemical tools, amongst others, to characterize the catalytic chemistry of redox active enzymes that are involved in multiple electron transfer steps. In particular, we use the technique of protein film voltammetry [PFV] to observe the reduction potentials of redox-cofactors that are a part of the essential machinery of an enzyme. Our laboratory interrogates a wide range of proteins and enzymes using this technique, and questions we are interested in vary from project to project.

Mechanisms of peroxidase catalysis have been investigated recently by our group using PFV. The bacterial cytochrome c peroxidases contain two heme groups, one of which is a five-coordinate active site of low reduction potential, and the other is a six-coordinate heme that is of higher potential, which serves a role in intermolecular electron transfer. We have certainly interrogated the enzyme from Nitrosomonas europaea, and determined that electroactive films of “NeCcP” give an electrochemical response indicating catalysis mediated by a n=1 ET step that is a part of the catalytic cycle.

Bacterial (multiheme) cytochromes are investigated in the Elliott Group using PFV. These include complex enzymes, such as the siroheme–dependent sulfite reductase, as well as simple cyt c-551 analogs and the less-simple cyt c-554, a tetraheme cytochrome.

The Redox Chemistry of Flavo- and Disulfide-enzymes – Other projects in the lab use electrochemistry as a way to probe the redox chemistry of enzymes involved in oxidative stress response, such as thioredoxin, glutaredoxin and thioredoxin reductases. This proven challenging due to the latent poor electrochemistry of disulfides, and the potential instability of flavo-proteins. However, we have been able to investigate a wide range of proteins such as thioredoxins and thioredoxin reductases. Thioredoxins are ubiquitous proteins that are small (~12 kDa), utilizing a surface-exposed disulfide bond as their means of storing and transferring electrons. Reduced thioredoxin is generated by a Trx reductase.

Techniques & Resources:

Protein film voltammetry (PFV) – a direct electrochemical suite of methods, is used to study protein-bound redox cofactors, allowing for the interrogation of previously inaccessible catalytic information

Bioinorganic Spectroscopies – the group makes use of optical absorption, fluorescence, and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopies routinely in the CIC, to further characterize the electronic structure and protein dynamics of redox enzymes.

Proteomic techniques are used to assess the impact of redox-active species (such as transition metals and reactive oxygen species) within living systems to investigate metal-ion import, packaging, and co-factor synthesis.

 Publications
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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  1. Maiocco SJ, Arcinas AJ, Landgraf BJ, Lee KH, Booker SJ, Elliott SJ. Transformations of the FeS Clusters of the Methylthiotransferases MiaB and RimO, Detected by Direct Electrochemistry. Biochemistry. 2016 Oct 4; 55(39):5531-5536. PMID: 27598886.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Dowling DP, Miles ZD, Köhrer C, Maiocco SJ, Elliott SJ, Bandarian V, Drennan CL. Molecular basis of cobalamin-dependent RNA modification. Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Nov 16; 44(20):9965-9976. PMID: 27638883.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Blaszczyk AJ, Silakov A, Zhang B, Maiocco SJ, Lanz ND, Kelly WL, Elliott SJ, Krebs C, Booker SJ. Spectroscopic and Electrochemical Characterization of the Iron-Sulfur and Cobalamin Cofactors of TsrM, an Unusual Radical S-Adenosylmethionine Methylase. J Am Chem Soc. 2016 Mar 16; 138(10):3416-26. PMID: 26841310.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Frato KE, Walsh KA, Elliott SJ. Functionally Distinct Bacterial Cytochrome c Peroxidases Proceed through a Common (Electro)catalytic Intermediate. Biochemistry. 2016 Jan 12; 55(1):125-32. PMID: 26575087.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Wei Y, Li B, Prakash D, Ferry JG, Elliott SJ, Stubbe J. A Ferredoxin Disulfide Reductase Delivers Electrons to the Methanosarcina barkeri Class III Ribonucleotide Reductase. Biochemistry. 2015 Dec 1; 54(47):7019-28. PMID: 26536144.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Maiocco SJ, Grove TL, Booker SJ, Elliott SJ. Electrochemical Resolution of the [4Fe-4S] Centers of the AdoMet Radical Enzyme BtrN: Evidence of Proton Coupling and an Unusual, Low-Potential Auxiliary Cluster. J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Jul 15; 137(27):8664-7. PMID: 26088836.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Stein N, Love D, Judd ET, Elliott SJ, Bennett B, Pacheco AA. Correlations between the Electronic Properties of Shewanella oneidensis Cytochrome c Nitrite Reductase (ccNiR) and Its Structure: Effects of Heme Oxidation State and Active Site Ligation. Biochemistry. 2015 Jun 23; 54(24):3749-58. PMID: 26042961.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Bewley KD, Dey M, Bjork RE, Mitra S, Chobot SE, Drennan CL, Elliott SJ. Rheostat re-wired: alternative hypotheses for the control of thioredoxin reduction potentials. PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0122466. PMID: 25874934.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Levin BD, Walsh KA, Sullivan KK, Bren KL, Elliott SJ. Methionine ligand lability of homologous monoheme cytochromes c. Inorg Chem. 2015 Jan 5; 54(1):38-46. PMID: 25490149.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Hu W, Song H, Sae Her A, Bak DW, Naowarojna N, Elliott SJ, Qin L, Chen X, Liu P. Bioinformatic and biochemical characterizations of C-S bond formation and cleavage enzymes in the fungus Neurospora crassa ergothioneine biosynthetic pathway. Org Lett. 2014 Oct 17; 16(20):5382-5. PMID: 25275953.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Judd ET, Stein N, Pacheco AA, Elliott SJ. Hydrogen bonding networks tune proton-coupled redox steps during the enzymatic six-electron conversion of nitrite to ammonia. Biochemistry. 2014 Sep 9; 53(35):5638-46. PMID: 25137350.
    View in: PubMed
  12. Funk MA, Judd ET, Marsh EN, Elliott SJ, Drennan CL. Structures of benzylsuccinate synthase elucidate roles of accessory subunits in glycyl radical enzyme activation and activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 15; 111(28):10161-6. PMID: 24982148.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Bak DW, Elliott SJ. Alternative FeS cluster ligands: tuning redox potentials and chemistry. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2014 Apr; 19:50-8. PMID: 24463764.
    View in: PubMed
  14. McMillan DG, Marritt SJ, Firer-Sherwood MA, Shi L, Richardson DJ, Evans SD, Elliott SJ, Butt JN, Jeuken LJ. Protein-protein interaction regulates the direction of catalysis and electron transfer in a redox enzyme complex. J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Jul 17; 135(28):10550-6. PMID: 23799249.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Bak DW, Elliott SJ. Conserved hydrogen bonding networks of MitoNEET tune Fe-S cluster binding and structural stability. Biochemistry. 2013 Jul 9; 52(27):4687-96. PMID: 23758282.
    View in: PubMed
  16. Bewley KD, Ellis KE, Firer-Sherwood MA, Elliott SJ. Multi-heme proteins: nature's electronic multi-purpose tool. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Aug-Sep; 1827(8-9):938-48. PMID: 23558243.
    View in: PubMed
  17. Judd ET, Youngblut M, Pacheco AA, Elliott SJ. Direct electrochemistry of Shewanella oneidensis cytochrome c nitrite reductase: evidence of interactions across the dimeric interface. Biochemistry. 2012 Dec 21; 51(51):10175-85. PMID: 23210513.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Hamill MJ, Jost M, Wong C, Bene NC, Drennan CL, Elliott SJ. Electrochemical characterization of Escherichia coli adaptive response protein AidB. Int J Mol Sci. 2012; 13(12):16899-915. PMID: 23443126.
    View in: PubMed
  19. Ellis KE, Frato KE, Elliott SJ. Impact of quaternary structure upon bacterial cytochrome c peroxidases: does homodimerization matter? Biochemistry. 2012 Dec 18; 51(50):10008-16. PMID: 23189923.
    View in: PubMed
  20. Bewley KD, Firer-Sherwood MA, Mock JY, Ando N, Drennan CL, Elliott SJ. Mind the gap: diversity and reactivity relationships among multihaem cytochromes of the MtrA/DmsE family. Biochem Soc Trans. 2012 Dec 1; 40(6):1268-73. PMID: 23176466.
    View in: PubMed
  21. Goldman PJ, Ryan KS, Hamill MJ, Howard-Jones AR, Walsh CT, Elliott SJ, Drennan CL. An unusual role for a mobile flavin in StaC-like indolocarbazole biosynthetic enzymes. Chem Biol. 2012 Jul 27; 19(7):855-65. PMID: 22840773.
    View in: PubMed
  22. Seidel J, Hoffmann M, Ellis KE, Seidel A, Spatzal T, Gerhardt S, Elliott SJ, Einsle O. MacA is a second cytochrome c peroxidase of Geobacter sulfurreducens. Biochemistry. 2012 Apr 3; 51(13):2747-56. PMID: 22417533.
    View in: PubMed
  23. Youngblut M, Judd ET, Srajer V, Sayyed B, Goelzer T, Elliott SJ, Schmidt M, Pacheco AA. Laue crystal structure of Shewanella oneidensis cytochrome c nitrite reductase from a high-yield expression system. J Biol Inorg Chem. 2012 Apr; 17(4):647-62. PMID: 22382353.
    View in: PubMed
  24. Pulcu GS, Frato KE, Gupta R, Hsu HR, Levine GA, Hendrich MP, Elliott SJ. The diheme cytochrome c peroxidase from Shewanella oneidensis requires reductive activation. Biochemistry. 2012 Feb 7; 51(5):974-85. PMID: 22239664.
    View in: PubMed
  25. Hamill MJ, Jost M, Wong C, Elliott SJ, Drennan CL. Flavin-induced oligomerization in Escherichia coli adaptive response protein AidB. Biochemistry. 2011 Nov 22; 50(46):10159-69. PMID: 22004173.
    View in: PubMed
  26. Levin BD, Can M, Bowman SE, Bren KL, Elliott SJ. Methionine ligand lability in bacterial monoheme cytochromes c: an electrochemical study. J Phys Chem B. 2011 Oct 13; 115(40):11718-26. PMID: 21870858.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Firer-Sherwood MA, Ando N, Drennan CL, Elliott SJ. Solution-based structural analysis of the decaheme cytochrome, MtrA, by small-angle X-ray scattering and analytical ultracentrifugation. J Phys Chem B. 2011 Sep 29; 115(38):11208-14. PMID: 21838277.
    View in: PubMed
  28. Ellis KE, Seidel J, Einsle O, Elliott SJ. Geobacter sulfurreducens cytochrome c peroxidases: electrochemical classification of catalytic mechanisms. Biochemistry. 2011 May 31; 50(21):4513-20. PMID: 21524102.
    View in: PubMed
  29. Firer-Sherwood MA, Bewley KD, Mock JY, Elliott SJ. Tools for resolving complexity in the electron transfer networks of multiheme cytochromes c. Metallomics. 2011 Apr; 3(4):344-8. PMID: 21327265.
    View in: PubMed
  30. Cong H, Becker CF, Elliott SJ, Grinstaff MW, Porco JA. Silver nanoparticle-catalyzed Diels-Alder cycloadditions of 2'-hydroxychalcones. J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Jun 2; 132(21):7514-8. PMID: 20443601.
    View in: PubMed
  31. Bak DW, Zuris JA, Paddock ML, Jennings PA, Elliott SJ. Redox characterization of the FeS protein MitoNEET and impact of thiazolidinedione drug binding. Biochemistry. 2009 Nov 3; 48(43):10193-5. PMID: 19791753.
    View in: PubMed
  32. Mitra S, Elliott SJ. Oxidative disassembly of the [2Fe-2S] cluster of human Grx2 and redox regulation in the mitochondria. Biochemistry. 2009 May 12; 48(18):3813-5. PMID: 19292455.
    View in: PubMed
  33. Becker CF, Watmough NJ, Elliott SJ. Electrochemical evidence for multiple peroxidatic heme states of the diheme cytochrome c peroxidase of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Biochemistry. 2009 Jan 13; 48(1):87-95. PMID: 19072039.
    View in: PubMed
  34. Hernandez HH, Jaquez OA, Hamill MJ, Elliott SJ, Drennan CL. Thioredoxin reductase from Thermoplasma acidophilum: a new twist on redox regulation. Biochemistry. 2008 Sep 16; 47(37):9728-37. PMID: 18717593.
    View in: PubMed
  35. Hamill MJ, Chobot SE, Hernandez HH, Drennan CL, Elliott SJ. Direct electrochemical analyses of a thermophilic thioredoxin reductase: interplay between conformational change and redox chemistry. Biochemistry. 2008 Sep 16; 47(37):9738-46. PMID: 18717594.
    View in: PubMed
  36. Firer-Sherwood M, Pulcu GS, Elliott SJ. Electrochemical interrogations of the Mtr cytochromes from Shewanella: opening a potential window. J Biol Inorg Chem. 2008 Aug; 13(6):849-54. PMID: 18575901.
    View in: PubMed
  37. Ye T, Kaur R, Senguen FT, Michel LV, Bren KL, Elliott SJ. Methionine ligand lability of type I cytochromes c: detection of ligand loss using protein film voltammetry. J Am Chem Soc. 2008 May 28; 130(21):6682-3. PMID: 18454519.
    View in: PubMed
  38. Michel LV, Ye T, Bowman SE, Levin BD, Hahn MA, Russell BS, Elliott SJ, Bren KL. Heme attachment motif mobility tunes cytochrome c redox potential. Biochemistry. 2007 Oct 23; 46(42):11753-60. PMID: 17900177.
    View in: PubMed
  39. Ryan KS, Howard-Jones AR, Hamill MJ, Elliott SJ, Walsh CT, Drennan CL. Crystallographic trapping in the rebeccamycin biosynthetic enzyme RebC. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Sep 25; 104(39):15311-6. PMID: 17873060.
    View in: PubMed
  40. Pulcu GS, Elmore BL, Arciero DM, Hooper AB, Elliott SJ. Direct electrochemistry of tetraheme cytochrome c(554) from Nitrosomonas europaea: redox cooperativity and gating. J Am Chem Soc. 2007 Feb 21; 129(7):1838-9. PMID: 17263529.
    View in: PubMed
  41. Chobot SE, Hernandez HH, Drennan CL, Elliott SJ. Direct electrochemical characterization of archaeal thioredoxins. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2007; 46(22):4145-7. PMID: 17443752.
    View in: PubMed
  42. Elliott SJ, Bradley AL, Arciero DM, Hooper AB. Protonation and inhibition of Nitrosomonas europaea cytochrome c peroxidase observed with protein film voltammetry. J Inorg Biochem. 2007 Jan; 101(1):173-9. PMID: 17064778.
    View in: PubMed
  43. Tarasev M, Pinto A, Kim D, Elliott SJ, Ballou DP. The "bridging" aspartate 178 in phthalate dioxygenase facilitates interactions between the Rieske center and the iron(II)--mononuclear center. Biochemistry. 2006 Aug 29; 45(34):10208-16. PMID: 16922496.
    View in: PubMed
  44. Ye T, Kaur R, Wen X, Bren KL, Elliott SJ. Redox properties of wild-type and heme-binding loop mutants of bacterial cytochromes C measured by direct electrochemistry. Inorg Chem. 2005 Nov 28; 44(24):8999-9006. PMID: 16296855.
    View in: PubMed
  45. di Bernardo D, Thompson MJ, Gardner TS, Chobot SE, Eastwood EL, Wojtovich AP, Elliott SJ, Schaus SE, Collins JJ. Chemogenomic profiling on a genome-wide scale using reverse-engineered gene networks. Nat Biotechnol. 2005 Mar; 23(3):377-83. PMID: 15765094.
    View in: PubMed
  46. Bradley AL, Chobot SE, Arciero DM, Hooper AB, Elliott SJ. A distinctive electrocatalytic response from the cytochrome c peroxidase of nitrosomonas europaea. J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 2; 279(14):13297-300. PMID: 14973133.
    View in: PubMed
  47. Elliott SJ, Hoke KR, Heffron K, Palak M, Rothery RA, Weiner JH, Armstrong FA. Voltammetric studies of the catalytic mechanism of the respiratory nitrate reductase from Escherichia coli: how nitrate reduction and inhibition depend on the oxidation state of the active site. Biochemistry. 2004 Jan 27; 43(3):799-807. PMID: 14730985.
    View in: PubMed
  48. Léger C, Elliott SJ, Hoke KR, Jeuken LJ, Jones AK, Armstrong FA. Enzyme electrokinetics: using protein film voltammetry to investigate redox enzymes and their mechanisms. Biochemistry. 2003 Jul 29; 42(29):8653-62. PMID: 12873124.
    View in: PubMed
  49. Elliott SJ, McElhaney AE, Feng C, Enemark JH, Armstrong FA. A voltammetric study of interdomain electron transfer within sulfite oxidase. J Am Chem Soc. 2002 Oct 2; 124(39):11612-3. PMID: 12296723.
    View in: PubMed
  50. Elliott SJ, Léger C, Pershad HR, Hirst J, Heffron K, Ginet N, Blasco F, Rothery RA, Weiner JH, Armstrong FA. Detection and interpretation of redox potential optima in the catalytic activity of enzymes. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Sep 10; 1555(1-3):54-9. PMID: 12206891.
    View in: PubMed
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