Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

David W. Christianson

Second Advisor

Emmanuel . Skordalakes


Terpene synthases synthesize highly complex natural products from linear isoprenoid starting molecules. These products often have a wide variety of applications spanning multiple industries. In order to unravel the production pathway of these important compounds, macromolecular crystallography via structural biology techniques can yield enzyme crystal structures. These crystal structures provide snapshots of biocatalysis, often providing clues to support a proposed chemical mechanism when combined with computational modeling. Through studying crystal structures of geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate synthase, epi-Isozizaene synthase, sesquisabinene synthase, and cucumene synthase, this work aims to further the mechanistic understanding of the respective natural products that have usefulness in the medical, fuel, and flavor industries.

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