University of Calgary

Raymond Turner

  • Professor
  • Biochemistry

Research Interests

There are two main directions in my laboratory with one focus towards study of the targeting, folding, structure, and assembly of membrane proteins and the other is exploring physiological and biochemical mechanisms of antimicrobial agents. With this in mind, several research projects are underway. 

i) We are investigating the phenotypes, folding and structure of members of the Small Multidrug Resistance (SMR) protein family. We are using the biophysical techniques of fluorescence, calorimetry, and size-exclusion HPLC to examine the SMR proteins structure, multimeric states and ligand binding properties in various biomembrane mimetic environments. Additionally, we are investigating the molecular microbiology phenotypes of the Sug subclass of the SMR proteins. 

ii) The twin-arginine leader dependent translocase (Tat) is under investigation. Our group focuses on the system specific chaperones identified as twin-arginine leader binding proteins involved in the maturation of various oxido-reductases with this translocase. We are using molecular biology, biochemical, and proteomic approaches in the characterization of this and other specific molecular chaperones involved in this translocation pathway. 

iii) Fluorescence spectroscopy of proteins is our laboratories specialized technique. Research into the photochemistry of the amino acid tryptophan to change its spectroscopic properties is underway. This research is focused on developing unique spectroscopic probes useful to the study of protein structure and function. 

iv) Research is also ongoing towards understanding the mechanisms of bacterial resistance/tolerance towards toxic metals and metalloids. Are present focus is to understand the microbial physiology and biochemistry of microbial biofilms under metal stress.  The focus is in exploring novel antimicrobial agents and is also evolving towards bioremediation applications.

Graduate Students

Name                          Degree       Topic

Brown, Damon               PhD        Resistance genes and microbial influenced corrosion

Levchenko, Elina           MSc        Interactions between chaperones and the twin arginine translocate

Gugala, Natalie              PhD        Biochemical mechanisms of metal ion toxicity

Westersund, Connor      MSc        Effects of silver to cell envelope of Escherichia coli

Piacenza,  Elena            PhD        Characterization of Biogenic produced metal nanoparticles

Monych, Nadia               MSc         Molecular characterization of bacteria under silver stress.
Dr. M. Demeter              PDF         Monitoring technologies for microbial influenced corrosion.


2013 Award of Excellence in Research University of Calgary, Faculty of Science

2011 Senior Fellowship, Instituto di Studi Avanzati, Italy.

2010 Discovery Accelerator Supplement (NSERC) for Outstanding research programs

2007 Visiting Fellowship, Instituto di Studi Avanzati, University of Bologna, Italy.

Selected Publications

Research ID link

Chan, C.S. Song, X., Qazi, S.J.S., Setiaputra, D., Yip C.K., Chao, T.-C., Turner, R.J. (2015) Unusual pairing between assistants: Interaction of the twin-arginine system-specif- ic chaperone DmsD with the chaperonin GroEL Biochim, Biophys. Res. Comm. 456;841-846.

Winstone, T.M.L., Turner, R.J. (2015) Thermodynamic characteriza- tion of the DmsD twin-arginine signal peptide-binding site. Biochem- istry, 54;2040-2051.

Mizrachi, D., Chen, Y., Ke, A., Pollack, L., Turner, R.J., Auchus, R.J., DeLisa M.P. (2015) Making water-soluble integral membrane proteins in vivo using an amphipathic protein fusion strategy. Nature Commu- nications 6:6826.

Qazi, S.J. S., Chew, R., Bay, D., Turner R.J. (2015) Structural and functional comparison of hexahis- tidine tagged and untagged forms of small multi- drug resistance protein, EmrE. Biochemistry Bio- physics Reports. 1;22-32.

Bay, D.C., Booth, S.C., Turner, R.J. (2015) Respiration and ecological niche influ- ence bacterial polar lipid and fatty acid compositions. Environmental Microbiol- ogy, 17;1777-1793.

Cappelletti, M. Presentato, A., Turner, R.J., Fedi, S., Frascari, D., Zannoni, D. (2015) Growth on gaseous n-alkanes and transcriptional induction of two solu- ble di-iron monooxygenase genes in Rhodococcus sp. strain BCP1, Frontiers in Microbiology, 6;393 doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00393

Bay, D.C., Chan, C.S. Turner, R.J. (2015) NarJ subfamily system spe- cific chaperone diversity and evolution is directed by respiratory en- zyme associations. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15;110.

Lemire, J.A., Kalan, L., Bradu, A., Turner, R.J. (2015) Silveroxy Nitrate: An unex- plored silver compound with antimicrobial and antibiofilm activity. Antimicro- bial Agents Chemotherapy. 59; 4031-4039.

Zonaro, E., Lampis, S., Qazi, S.J.S., Turner, R.J., Vallini, G. (2015) Biogenic seleni- um and tellurium nanoparticles synthesized by environmental microbial isolates efficaciously inhibit bacterial planktonic cultures and biofilms. Frontiers in Micro- biology 6; 584. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00584.

Lemire, J. Harrison, J.J. Turner, R.J. (2013) Antimicrobial activity of metals: Mechanisms, molecular targets and applications.  Nature Reviews Microbiology. 11;371-384  Journal cover 

Booth, S., Weljie, A.A., Turner, R.J. (2013) Computational Tools for the Secondary Analysis of Metabolomics Experiments. Computational & Structural Biotechnology Journal.  4(5);e201301003 

Turner, R.J. (2013) Bacterial Tellurite Resistance.  in Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins. R. H. Kretsinger, V.N. Uversky, E. A. Permyakov (Eds), Springer. ISBN 978-1-4614-1534-3 Vol B; 219-223.

Turner, R.J. (2013) Bacterial Tellurite Processing Proteins. in Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins. R. H. Kretsinger, V.N. Uversky, E. A. Permyakov (Eds), Springer ISBN 978-1-4614-1534-3 Vol B; 217-219.

Turner, R.J. Borghese, R., Zannoni, D. (2012) Microbial reduction of tellurium metalloids as a tool in biotechnology. Biotechnology Advances. 30;954-963. 

Ceri, H., Olson, M.E., Turner, R.J. (2010) Needed, New paradigms in Antibiotic Development. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. 11;1-5. 

Turner, R.J., Winstone, T.M.L., Tran, V.A., Chan, C.S. (2010) System specific chaperones for membrane redox enzymes maturation in bacteria.  In Handbook of Molecular Chaperones: Roles, Structures and Mechanisms. Ed. P. Durante & L. Colucci, Nova Science Publishers Inc. New York. Pp179-207. 

Booth, S.C., Workentine, M.L., Weljie, A., Turner, R.J. (2011) Metabolomics and its application to study metal toxicity.  Metallomics. 3; 1142-1152. Journal cover.  

Turner, R.J. Zannoni, D. Hynes, M.F., Ceri, H. (2008) Antimicrobial Agents and Biofilms; Resistance/Tolerance is Multifactorial. Chemistry Today. 26; 20-22. 

Bay, D., Rommens, K., Turner, R.J. (2008) Small multidrug resistance proteins: A multidrug transporter family that continues to grow. Biochim. Biophys. Acta – Biomembranes. 1778;1814-1838.

Zannoni, D., Borsetti, F., Harrison, J.J., Turner, R.J. (2008) The bacterial response to the chalcogen metalloids Se and Te. Advances in Microbial Physiology. 53; 1-71.– Book cover photo. 

Chan, C.S., Winstone, T.M.L., Turner, R.J. (2008) Investigating protein-protein interactions by far-Westerns. Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology; Protein-Protein Interactions 110;195-214. 

Harrison, J.J., Ceri, H, Turner, R.J. (2007) Multimetal resistance and tolerance in microbial biofilms Nature Reviews Microbiology.  5; 928-938. –Journal cover 

Chan, C.S., Howell, J.M., Turner, R. J. (2006) Protein-protein interactions: A comparison of protein-protein interaction techniques. BIOforum Europe 9;36-37. 

Harrison, J. J., Turner, R.J., Ceri, H (2005) Metal tolerance in bacterial biofilms. Recent Research Developments in Microbiology.  9: 33-55. 

Harrison, J.J., Turner R.J., Marques L.L.R., Ceri, H. (2005) Biofilms: A new understanding of these microbial communities is driving a revolution that may transform the science of microbiology.  American Scientist 93:508-515. 

Howell, J. M., Turner R.J. (2004) The role of redox enzyme maturation proteins (REMPs) in the Biogenesis of Escherichia coli Oxidoreductases: The example of DMSO Reductase. Recent Research Developments in Microbiology. 8: 1-14. 

Turner, R.J., Weiner, J.H., Taylor, D.E. (1998) Selenium Metabolism in Escherichia coli. BioMetals  11; 223-227.


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