John Innes Centre

Prof Mike Merrick

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Curriculum Vitae

  • 1970 BSc, Genetics, University of Birmingham, UK
  • 1973 PhD, Genetics, University of Birmingham, UK
  • 1973 - 1976 Postdoctoral Fellow, John Innes Centre, UK
  • 1976 - 1995 Research Scientist, Nitrogen Fixation Laboratory, University of Sussex, UK
  • 1995 - Feb 2012 Project Leader, Dept. of Molecular Microbiology, John Innes Centre, UK
  • 2001 - Feb 2012 Associate Head of Department. John Innes Centre, UK
  • 2006 - present Chair of JIC Graduate School
  • 2007- present Honorary Professor, University of East Anglia, UK

Mike Merrick

Project Leader

Molecular Microbiology

Contact details

Research interests

Throughout my research career my interests have focussed on bacterial nitrogen metabolism and the ways in which bacteria control all aspects of that metabolism in response to the availability of fixed nitrogen. Bacteria can use a wide range of organic and inorganic sources of nitrogen and they must therefore coordinate both the expression of genes and the activities of proteins required for nitrogen metabolism with the availability of nitrogen sources in their environment and with their intracellular nitrogen status (for reviews see: Arcondeguy et al, 2001; Huergo et al, 2013).

Over the last decade, the major research in my lab concerned the biology of the ubiquitous ammonium transport (Amt) proteins and of the signal transduction proteins of the PII family. Ammonium transport (Amt) proteins are found in eubacteria, archaebacteria, fungi, plants, and lower animals. Members of the Amt family are also present in higher animals including humans where their homologues are the Rhesus (Rh) proteins.  In my laboratory we developed the AmtB protein of Escherichia coli as a model which offers an excellent system to investigate questions of structure, function and signal transduction relating to Amt proteins (Merrick et al., 2006). PII proteins control nitrogen metabolism in prokaryotes and in plant plastids (for a review see: Huergo et al, 2013). These proteins have a remarkable ability to regulate the activities of transcription factors, enzymes and membrane proteins.

Selected Publications

Radchenko M. V., Thornton J., Merrick M. (2013)
PII signal transduction proteins are ATPases whose activity is regulated by 2-oxoglutarate.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 (32) 12948-12953
Radchenko M. V., Thornton J., Merrick M. (2010)
Control of AmtB-GlnK complex formation by intracellular levels of ATP, ADP and 2-Oxoglutarate
Journal of Biological Chemistry 285 (40) 31037-31045

Recent Publications

Huergo L. F., Chandra G., Merrick M. (2013)
P(II) signal transduction proteins: nitrogen regulation and beyond.
FEMS Microbiology Reviews 37 251-283
Wang J., Fulford T., Shao Q., Javelle A., Yang H., Zhu W., Merrick M. (2013)
Ammonium transport proteins with changes in one of the conserved pore histidines have different performance in ammonia and methylamine conduction.
PLoS ONE 8 (5) e62745
Huergo L. F., Pedrosa F. O., Muller-Santos M., Chubatsu L. S., Monteiro R. A., Merrick M., Souza E. M. (2012)
PII signal transduction proteins: pivotal players in post-translational control of nitrogenase activity.
Microbiology 158 (Pt 1) 176-190