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Robert L. Switzer

Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry


Dr. Switzer, whose career at the University of Illinois spanned forty years, studied the regulation of bacterial metabolism by allosteric enzymes, the control of enzyme degradation and novel mechanisms for the regulation of gene expression, with an emphasis on transcriptional attenuation. He also co-authored a seminal textbook, Experimental Biochemistry.


B.S. 1961 Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Ph.D. 1966 Univ. of California, Berkeley
Postdoc. 1966-68 Lab. of Biochemistry, Nat'l. Heart Institute, Nat'l. Institutes of Health

Highlighted Publications

Representative Publications

Jørgensen. C. M., Fields, C. J., Chander, P., Watt, D., Burgner, J. W., II, Smith, J. L., and Switzer, R. L. (2008) "pyr RNA Binding to the Bacillus caldolyticus  PyrR Attenuation Protein: Characterization and Regulation by Uridine and Guanosine Nucleotides." FEBS Journal, 275, 655-670.

Turnbough, C. L., Jr., and Switzer, R. L.  (2008) "Regulation of Pyrimidine Biosynthetic Gene Expression in Bacteria:  Repression without Repressors, "Microbiol. Molec. Biol. Rev. 72, 266-300

Switzer, R. L. (2009) "Discoveries in Bacterial Nucleotide Metabolism," J. Biol. Chem.  284, 6585-6594

Elsholz, A.K.W., Jørgensen, C.M., and Switzer, R.L. 2007. The number of G residues in the Bacillus subtilis pyrG initially transcribed region governs reiterative transcription-mediated regulation. J. Bacteriol., 189:2176–80. [Abstract]

Jensen-McAllister, I.E., Meng, Q., and Switzer, R.L. 2007. Regulation of pyrG expression in Bacillus subtilis: CTP-regulated antitermination and reiterative transcription with pyrG templates in vitro. Molec. Microbiol., 63:1440–52. [Abstract]

Fields, C.J. and Switzer, R.L. 2007. Regulation of pyr gene expression in Mycobacterium smegmatis by pyrR-dependent translational repression. J. Bacteriol., 189: 6236-6245. [Abstract]

Gerth, U., Kock, H., Küsters, I., Michalik, S., Switzer, R.L., and Hecker, M. 2008. Clp dependent proteolysis down-regulates central metabolic pathways in glucose-starved Bacillus subtilis. J. Bacteriol., 190, 321-331.

Chander, P., Halbig, K.M., Miller, J.K., Fields, C.J., Bonner, H.K.S., Grabner, G.K., Switzer, R.L., and Smith, J.L. 2005. Structure of the nucleotide complex of pyrR, the pyr attenuation protein from Bacillus caldolyticus suggests dual regulation by pyrimidine and purine nucleotides. J. Bacteriol., 187:1773–82. [Abstract]

Meng, Q., Turnbough, C.L., Jr., and Switzer, R.L. 2004. Attenuation control of pyrG expression in Bacillus subtilis is mediated by CTP-sensitive reiterative transcription. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 101:10943–8. [Abstract]

Grabner, G.K. and Switzer, R.L. 2003. Kinetic studies of the uracil phosphoribosyltransferase reaction catalyzed by the Bacillus subtilis pyrimidine attenuation regulatory protein pyrR. J. Biol. Chem., 278:6921–7. [Abstract]

Zhang, H. and Switzer, R.L. 2003. Transcriptional pausing in the Bacillus subtilis pyr operon: a role in regulation of expression? J. Bacteriol., 185:4764–71. [Abstract]

Meng, Q. and Switzer, R.L. 2002. "The cis-acting sequences of Bacillus subtilis pyrG mRNA essential for regulation by antitermination. J. Bacteriol., 184:6734–8. [Abstract]

Savacool, H.K. and Switzer, R.L. 2002. Characterization of the interaction of Bacillus subtilis pyrR with pyr mRNA by site-directed mutagenesis of the protein. J. Bacteriol., 184:2521–8. [Abstract]