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Dr. Madeline Rasche

Professor Biochemistry
On sabbatical 2016-2017

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Biochemical, genetic, and genomic approaches to identify the genes and characterize the enzymes involved in the biosynthetic pathways of selected archaeal coenzymes and potential applications for modulation of biological methane production and utilization by microorganisms of environmental importance.


Office: MH-504A
Phone: (657) 278-3885
Lab: DBH-178
Phone: (657) 278-2448
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Courses Taught

  • Chem 190 Orientation to Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Chem 421 Biological Chemistry
  • Chem 423A/B General Biochemistry
  • Chem 472B Advances in Biotechnology Laboratory
  • Chem 541 Nucleic Acid Biochemistry
  • Chem 542 Nucleic Acid Metabolism


Ph.D. Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside, CA
B.S. Biology (Magna cum laude), Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

Research Interests

Methane production by microorganisms has a powerful impact on the environment because methane (CH4) is both an energy source and a greenhouse gas. Many of the microbial enzymes involved in methane production require a specialized coenzyme called tetrahydromethanopterin (H4MPT). Our laboratory uses a combination of biochemistry, molecular biology, genomics, and biophysical approaches to identify and characterize genes and enzymes required for the biosynthesis of H4MPT. By understanding how one of these enzymes works, it has been possible to develop inhibitors of methane production that may help to decrease the production of methane as a greenhouse gas from biological sources such as microorganisms in the rumen (first stomach) of domestic cattle.

Selected Publications

Chiem, K., Jani, S., Fuentes, B., Lin, D.A., Rasche, M.E., and Tolmasky, M.E.  2016.  Identification of an Inhibtor of the Aminoglycoside 6'-N-Acetyltransferase type lb [AAC(6')-lb] by Glide Molecular Docking.  MedChemComm 71:  184-189.

Bobik, T.A., Morales, E.J., Shin, A., Cascio, D., Sawaya, M.R., Arbing, M., Yeates, T.O. & Rasche, M.E. 2014. Structure of the methanofuran/methanopterin biosynthetic enzyme MJ1099 from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii. Acta Cryst. F70: 1472-1479.

McNamara, D.E., Cascio, D., Jorda, J., Bustos, C., Wang, T., Rasche, M.E., Yeates, T.O, and *Bobik, T.A. 2014. Structure of dihydromethanopterin reductase: a cubic Protein cage for redox transfer. J. Biol. Chem. 289:8852-8864.

Wang, S., Tiongson, J., and Rasche M.E. 2014. Discovery and characterization of the first archaeal dihydromethanopterin reductase (DmrX), an iron-sulfur flavoprotein from Methanosarcina mazei. J. Bacteriol. 196:204-209.

Testani, J., Dabelic, R. and Rasche, M. E. *.; 2006. Chemical reduction of pterins to dihydropterins.  Analytical Biochem. 358:20-24.

Rasche, M. E., and J. G. Ferry. 2005. Molecular Biology of Methanogens and Archaebacteria, p. 237-261. In R. A. Meyers (ed.), Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, 2nd ed, vol. 8. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co., Weinheim. (Review)

Chistoserdova, L.*, Rasche, M.E., and Lidstrom, M.E.  2005.  Novel tetrahydromethanopterin biosynthesis genes discovered via mutagenesis in Methylobacterium extorquens AM1. J. Bacteriol. 187: 2508-2512.

Hamilton, R., Casasús, A., Rasche, M.E., Narang, A, Svoronos, S. A.*, and Koopman, B*. 2005.  A structured model for denitrifier diauxic growth.  Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 90(4):501–508.

Caccamo, M. A., Malone, C. S., and Rasche, M. E.*  2004.  Biochemical characterization of dihydromethanopterin reductase, a tetrahydromethanopterin biosynthesis enzyme in Methylobacterium extorquens AM1. J. Bacteriol.186:2068-2073.

Rasche, M. E.*, Wyles, S. A., and Rosenzvaig, M.  2004.  Characterization of two methanopterin biosynthesis mutants of Methylobacterium extorquens by use of a tetrahydromethanopterin bioassay.  J. Bacteriol. 186:1565-1570.

Bobik, T.A., Rasche, M.E.*  2004. Purification and partial characterization of the Pyrococcus horikoshii methylmalonyl-CoA epimerase.  Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 63:682-685.

Rasche, M. E.*  2004.  Outcomes of a research-driven laboratory and literature course designed to enhance undergraduate contributions to original research.  Biochem. and Molecular Biology Educ. 32:101-107.

Kima, P.E.*, Rasche, M.E.  2004.  Sex determination using the polymerase chain reaction.  Biochem. and Molecular Biology Educ. 32:115-119.

Dumitru, R., Palencia., H., Schroeder, S. D., DeMontigny, B., Takacs, J., Rasche, M. E., Miner, J. L., and Ragsdale, S. W.*  2003.  Targeting methanopterin biosynthesis to inhibit methanogenesis.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 69:7236-7241.