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Jonathan McMurry, Ph.D. - Kennesaw State University. Kennesaw, GA, US

Jonathan McMurry, Ph.D. Jonathan McMurry, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President for Research and Professor of Chemistry | Kennesaw State University


Jonathan McMurry is the associate vice president for research and a professor of biochemistry at Kennesaw State.


Jonathan McMurry is associate vice president for research and a professor of biochemistry at Kennesaw State. He is an AREA grant awardee investigating the assembly of the bacterial flagellum in Gram-negative bacteria. He also has made efforts to apply optical biosensor technology to analyze dynamic protein-protein interactions.

McMurry's current research interests are in the assembly of the bacterial flagellum. Flagellar assembly involves a protein secretion process very similar to the bacterial virulence factor secretion mechanisms that result in diseases such as gastroenteritis. McMurry's program provides excellent opportunities for ambitious graduate or medical school bound student researchers to gain experience with biochemical and molecular biology techniques while working in a biomedically relevant area.

McMurry is also interested in broad applications of biosensor technologies. His department has acquired a biolayer interferometer capable of analyzing biomolecular interactions in real time. They are actively pursuing several avenues including quantitation of small molecules in complex solutions and collaborative projects with investigators at other institutions.

Industry Expertise (3)

Education/Learning Research Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (7)

Mathematics Science Bacterial Flagellum biosensor technology Molecular Biology Biochemical Biology Protein Biochemistry

Accomplishments (6)

CSM International Faculty Development Award (professional)


KSU Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning Travel Awards (professional)


KSU College of Science and Mathematics Mentor-Protégé Awards (professional)


Cottrell College Science Award (professional)


National Research Service Awards (professional)


National Research Service Awards (professional)


Education (3)

University of Connecticut: Ph.D., Molecular & Cell Biology 2002

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: M.S., Biology 1996

North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics: B.A., Biology 1988

Affiliations (2)

  • New Echota Biotechnology : Chief Executive Officer
  • Northwest Georgia Center for Excellence in Biomolecular Interaction Analysis (NWGCEBIA) : Director

Media Appearances (2)

William & Mary scientists receive Commonwealth Research Commercialization Funds

William & Mary  


A recent announcement from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe included notice that two William & Mary scientists received matching funds to help bring their discoveries into the market.

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Cell-penetrating peptide delivers drugs on a molecular level



A team of Kennesaw State University faculty and students have developed a novel cell-penetrating peptide technology that could result in new medical treatments ranging from improved cosmetic procedures to helping in the fight against cancer, according to team leader Jonathan McMurry, KSU's associate vice president for research.

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Recent Papers (5)

Identification of Preferred DNA-Binding Sites for the Thermus thermophilus Transcriptional Regulator SbtR by the Combinatorial Approach REPSA PLoS One


One of the first steps towards elucidating the biological function of a putative transcriptional regulator is to ascertain its preferred DNA-binding sequences. This may be rapidly and effectively achieved through the application of a combinatorial approach, one involving very large numbers of randomized oligonucleotides and reiterative selection and amplification steps to enrich for high-affinity nucleic acid-binding sequences. Previously, we had developed the novel combinatorial approach Restriction Endonuclease Protection, Selection and Amplification (REPSA), which relies not on the physical separation of ligand-nucleic acid complexes but instead selects on the basis of ligand-dependent inhibition of enzymatic template inactivation, specifically cleavage by type IIS restriction endonucleases. Thus, no prior knowledge of the ligand is required for REPSA, making it more amenable for discovery purposes. Here we describe using REPSA, massively parallel sequencing, and bioinformatics to identify the preferred DNA-binding sites for the transcriptional regulator SbtR, encoded by the TTHA0167 gene from the model extreme thermophile Thermus thermophilus HB8. From the resulting position weight matrix, we can identify multiple operons potentially regulated by SbtR and postulate a biological role for this protein in regulating extracellular transport processes. Our study provides a proof-of-concept for the application of REPSA for the identification of preferred DNA-binding sites for orphan transcriptional regulators and a first step towards determining their possible biological roles.

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The SH3 domain of UNC-89 (obscurin) interacts with paramyosin, a coiled-coil protein, in Caenorhabditis elegans muscle Molecular Biology of the Cell


UNC-89 is a giant polypeptide located at the sarcomeric M-line of Caenorhabditis elegans muscle. The human homologue is obscurin. To understand how UNC-89 is localized and functions, we have been identifying its binding partners. Screening a yeast two-hybrid library revealed that UNC-89 interacts with paramyosin. Paramyosin is an invertebrate-specific coiled-coil dimer protein that is homologous to the rod portion of myosin heavy chains and resides in thick filament cores. Minimally, this interaction requires UNC-89’s SH3 domain and residues 294–376 of paramyosin and has a KD of ∼1.1 μM. In unc-89 loss-of-function mutants that lack the SH3 domain, paramyosin is found in accumulations. When the SH3 domain is overexpressed, paramyosin is mislocalized. SH3 domains usually interact with a proline-rich consensus sequence, but the region of paramyosin that interacts with UNC-89’s SH3 is α-helical and lacks prolines. Homology modeling of UNC-89’s SH3 suggests structural features that might be responsible for this interaction. The SH3-binding region of paramyosin contains a “skip residue,” which is likely to locally unwind the coiled-coil and perhaps contributes to the binding specificity.

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Localisation and protein-protein interactions of the Helicobacter pylori taxis sensor TlpD and their connection to metabolic functions Scientific Reports


The Helicobacter pylori energy sensor TlpD determines tactic behaviour under low energy conditions and is important in vivo. We explored protein-protein interactions of TlpD and their impact on TlpD localisation and function. Pull-down of tagged TlpD identified protein interaction partners of TlpD, which included the chemotaxis histidine kinase CheAY2, the central metabolic enzyme aconitase (AcnB) and the detoxifying enzyme catalase (KatA). We confirmed that KatA and AcnB physically interact with TlpD. While the TlpD-dependent behavioural response appeared not influenced in the interactor mutants katA and acnB in steady-state behavioural assays, acetone carboxylase subunit (acxC) mutant behaviour was altered. TlpD was localised in a bipolar subcellular pattern in media of high energy. We observed a significant change in TlpD localisation towards the cell body in cheAY2-, catalase- or aconitase-deficient bacteria or in bacteria incubated under low energy conditions, including oxidative stress or respiratory inhibition. Inactivation of tlpD resulted in an increased sensitivity to iron limitation and oxidative stress and influenced the H. pylori transcriptome. Oxidative stress, iron limitation and overexpressing the iron-sulfur repair system nifSU altered TlpD-dependent behaviour. We propose that TlpD localisation is instructed by metabolic activity and protein interactions, and its sensory activity is linked to iron-sulfur cluster integrity.

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EFN-4 functions in LAD-2-mediated axon guidance in Caenorhabditis elegans Development


During development of the nervous system, growing axons rely on guidance molecules to direct axon pathfinding. A well-characterized family of guidance molecules are the membrane-associated ephrins, which together with their cognate Eph receptors, direct axon navigation in a contact-mediated fashion. In C. elegans, the ephrin-Eph signaling system is conserved and is best characterized for their roles in neuroblast migration during early embryogenesis. This study demonstrates a role for the C. elegans ephrin EFN-4 in axon guidance. We provide both genetic and biochemical evidence that is consistent with the C. elegans divergent L1 cell adhesion molecule LAD-2 acting as a non-canonical ephrin receptor to EFN-4 to promote axon guidance. We also show that EFN-4 probably functions as a diffusible factor because EFN-4 engineered to be soluble can promote LAD-2-mediated axon guidance. This study thus reveals a potential additional mechanism for ephrins in regulating axon guidance and expands the repertoire of receptors by which ephrins can signal.

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Novel cell-penetrating peptide-adaptors effect intracellular delivery and endosomal escape of protein cargos Journal of Cell Science


The use of cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) as biomolecular delivery vehicles holds great promise for therapeutic and other applications, but development has been stymied by poor delivery and lack of endosomal escape. We have developed a CPP-adaptor system capable of efficient intracellular delivery and endosomal escape of user-defined protein cargos. The cell-penetrating sequence of HIV transactivator of transcription was fused to calmodulin, which binds with subnanomolar affinity to proteins containing a calmodulin binding site. Our strategy has tremendous advantage over prior CPP technologies because it utilizes high-affinity non-covalent, but reversible coupling between CPP and cargo. Three different cargo proteins fused to a calmodulin binding sequence were delivered to the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells and released, demonstrating the feasibility of numerous applications in living cells including alteration of signaling pathways and gene expression.

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