Ian Molineux

Molineux, Ian
Professor in Molecular Genetics & Microbiology



Main Office: NMS 1.116
Phone: (512) 471-3143

Alternate Office: NMS 1.210
Phone: (512) 471-0773

Mailing Address:
The University of Texas at Austin
Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
2506 Speedway Stop A5000
Austin, TX 78712-1191

Research Lab Students:
  • Kemp, Priscilla - Staff

  • Research Summary:

    Our major interest is understanding how nucleic acids pass through lipid bilayers. Our model system is bacteriophage T7, which uses three different motor proteins to transport its DNA into the cell at the initiation of infection. The phage ejects proteins into the cell that make a channel for DNA transport across the cell envelope and constitute the first molecular motor. We are characterizing this channel and motor with the aim of reconstructing a DNA translocation system in vitro. The second and third motors are RNA polymerases that transport the T7 genome into the cell by transcription. We use the “genome entry” assay to measure kinetics of transcription in vivo. A current focus is a transcription anti-termination system that enhances the rate of genome entry and makes infection more efficient. We are exploring ways to measure the transport kinetics of other phage genomes, in particular lambda, into the cell.

    Other interests include various host-parasite interactions; currently we are determining the molecular basis for exclusion of T7 by cells containing the F plasmid, evaluating phages for use in phage therapy protocols, using phages as models in evolutionary genetics, and phage genomics. A more specific project underway is to determine the mechanism by which transcription of the T7 genome is switched from catalysis by E. coli to the phage RNAP. Two T7 proteins: gp0.7 and gp2, are involved; in their absence the phage undergoes an abortive infection where the phage genome is degraded. We are analyzing rare mutants that bypass the requirement for these proteins, anticipating that we will uncover a novel regulatory genetic network for phage development.

    2012Häuser,R., S. Blasche, T. Dokland, E. Haggård-Ljungquist, A. von Brunn, M. Salas, S. Casjens, I. Molineux, & P. Uetz, Bacteriophage Protein–Protein Interactions, Adv. Virus Res. 83:219-298.
    2012Schofield, D. A., C. T. Bull, I. Rubio, W. P. Wechter, C. Westwater, C., & I. J. Molineux, Development of an engineered 'bioluminescent' reporter phage for the detection of bacterial blight of crucifers, Appl Environ Microbiol 78:3592–3598.
    2012Bull, J. J., I. J. Molineux, & C. O. Wilke, Slow fitness recovery in a codon-modified viral genome., Mol. Biol Evol. PMID: 22532576.
    2012Bull, J. J., G. Otto & I. J. Molineux, In vivo growth rates are poorly correlated with phage therapy success in a mouse infection model., Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 56:949-954.
    2011Nguyen, A. H., I. J. Molineux, R. Springman, & J. J. Bull, Multiple genetic pathways to similar fitness limits during viral adaptation to a new host, Evolution 66:363–374.
    2011Bhardwaj, A., I. J. Molineux, S. R. Casjens, & C. Cingolani, Atomic structure of bacteriophage Sf6 tail needle knob, J. Biol. Chem 286:30867-30877.
    2010Panja, D., & I. J. Molineux, Dynamics of bacteriophage genome ejection in vitro and in vivo., Phys. Biol. PMID: 21149974 7:045006.
    2010Savalia, D., W. P. Robins, S. Nechaev, I. J. Molineux, & K. Severinov., The role of the T7 gp2 inhibitor of host RNA polymerase in phage development., J. Mol. Biol. 402:118-126.
    2010Chang, C-Y., P. Kemp, & I. J. Molineux, Gp15 and gp16 cooperate in translocating bacteriophage T7 DNA into the infected cell, Virology 398:176-186..
    2010Bull, J. J., E. R. Vimr & I. J. Molineux, A tale of tails: sialidase is key to success in a model of phage therapy against K1-capsulated Escherichia coli, Virology 398:79-86.
    2010Springman, R., T. Keller, I. J. Molineux, & J. J. Bull, Evolution at a high imposed mutation rate: adaptation obscures the load in phage T7, Genetics 184:221-232.
    2009Schofield, D. A., I. J. Molineux, & C. Westwater., Diagnostic bioluminescent phage for the detection of Yersinia pestis, J. Clin. Micro. 47:3887-3894.
    2009Keller, T.E., I. J. Molineux, & J. J. Bull, Viral resistance evolution fully escapes a rationally designed inhibitor, Mol Biol Evol 26:2041-2046.
    2009Heineman, R. H., J. J. Bull, & I. J. Molineux, Multiple layers of evolvability in a bacteriophage life history trait., Mol. Biol. Evol. 26:1289–1298.
    2008Bull, J. J. & I. J. Molineux, Predicting evolution from genomics: experimental evolution of bacteriophage T7, Heredity 100: 453-463.
    2008Savalia, D., L. F., Westblade, M. Goel, L. Florens, P. Kemp, N. Akulenko, O. Pavlova, J. C. Padovan, B. T.Chait, M. P. Washburn, H-W. Ackermann, A. Mushegian, T. Gabisonia, I. Molineux, & K. Severinov, Genomic and proteomic analysis of phiEco32, a novel Escherichia coli phage, J. Mol. Biol. 377:774-789.
    2007Bull, JJ., Springman, R., Molineux, IJ., Compensatory evolution in response to orthologous replacement of a central network gene., Mol. Biol. Evol. 24:900-908.
    2007Grayson, P. & Molineux, IJ., Is phage DNA "injected" into cells - biologists and physicists can agree., Curr. Op. Microbiol. 10:In Press.
    2007Leiman, P. G., A. J. Battisti, V. D. Bowman, K. Stummeyer, M. Mühlenhoff, R. Gerardy-Schahn, D. Scholl, & I. J. Molineux, Structure and evolution of viral organelles that digest extracellular polysaccharides of pathogenic bacteria., J. Mol. Biol. 371:836-849.
    2006Molineux, IJ., Fifty-three years since Hershey and Chase; much ado about pressure but which pressure is it?, Virology 344:221-229.

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