Creating Molecular Probes to Study Interactions in Biology

Welcome to the website of the Butler research group. We are based in the Chemistry Department at Loughborough University. Research in the Butler group is focussed on the synthesis of supramolecular tools to probe interactions at the chemistry/biology interface. Of particular interest is the development of fluorescent and luminescent chemical probes for the selective detection and imaging of biological substrates, in order to monitor biological processes such as enzyme reactions in real-time.

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Latest News

Europium(III)-Based Receptors for Inorganic Phosphate and AMP

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February 2022

Steve publishes in Chemical Science in collaboration with Felix Plasser, detailing the work of Sam, Colum, Sam Kirkland, Simon and Erin. We present a new series of europium(III)-based anion receptors capable of binding selectively to inorganic phosphate and AMP in aqueous and biological media. Many diseases result in imbalances in inorganic phosphate concentrations, hence quantifying this is very valuable. The cover art shown here (left) was designed by Samantha Bodman and Graeme Pratt, and is featured on the inside back cover of the journal volume. Read more about this work here.

Paramagnetic Tags to Determine Side Chain Positions Near Active Site

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January 2022

Congratulations to Lydia and Colum for their paper in Magnetic Resonance, describing a method for determining the solution structure of a solvent-exposed polypeptide next to the active site of the enzyme IMP-1. In collaboration with Prof. Otting (ANU), we tagged three different sites on the protein with a paramagnetic metal complex to determine the position of the polypeptide with atomic resolution. Check out the paper here.

First Real-Time Assay of Heparan Sulfotransferase Activity

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January 2022

Congratulations to Simon and several previous members of the Butler group (Colum, Sarah and Erin) for their paper in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. In collaboration with Prof. Fernig (Liverpool, Biochemistry), we present a new europium(III) probe for monitoring the activity of sulfotransferase enzymes, by binding to the enzymatically generated phosphate anion, PAP. The paper features in the Supramolecular Chemistry of Anions themed collection. Check out the paper here.

Most Popular 2021 Supramolecular Chemistry Articles

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December 2021

We’re delighted to see our Chemical Science review article Advances in anion binding and sensing using luminescent lanthanide complexes

featured in the Most Popular 2021 Supramolecular Chemistry Articles collection!