Charles M. Lovett Jr.

Charles Lovett

Philip and Dorothy Schein Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus

At Williams since 1985

Lab: 268 Bronfman Science Center; (413) 597-3402

Areas of Expertise

DNA damage by agents in the environment poses a constant threat to the survival of all organisms. In order to maintain the integrity of their genetic material, cells respond to such damage by activating, or inducing, a large repertory of enzymes that repair DNA and otherwise provide for cellular survival. Exposure of bacteria to DNA damaging agents results in the induction of a diverse set of physiological responses, collectively called the SOS response, which include enhanced capacity for recombinational repair, enhanced capacity for excision repair, enhanced mutagenesis, prophage induction, and inhibition of cell division. The research in our laboratory focuses on the SOS response in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, a close cousin of the anthrax bacterium. Using a genomic screen, coupled with biochemical studies and microarray analyses, we have identified about forty genes that comprise the B. subtilis SOS repsonse. Using a combination of genetic, proteomic, and biochemical analyses we are trying to understand how the integrated activities of the SOS gene products provide for the cell’s response to DNA damage.

Scholarship/Creative Work

  • Au, N., Kuester-Schoeck, E., Mandava, V., Bothwell, L.E., Canny, S.P., Chachu, K., Colavito, Fuller, S.A. Groban, E.S., Hensley, L.A., O’Brien, T.C., Shah, A., Tierney, J.T., Tomm, L.L., O’Gara, T.M., Goranov, A.I., Grossman, A.D. and Lovett, C.M. (2005) Genetic Composition of the Bacillus subtilis SOS system. J. Bacteriol. 187: 7655-7666.
  • Groban, E.S. Johnson, M.B., Banky, P., Burnett, P.G., Calderon, G.L., Dwyer, E.C., Fuller, S.N., Gebre, B., King, L.M., Sheren, I.N., Von Mutius, L.D., O’Gara, T.M. and Lovett, C.M. (2005) Binding of the Bacillus subtilis LexA Protein to the SOS Operator. Nucleic Acids Res. 33: 6287-6295.
  • Lovett, C and Chang, R. (2005) Understanding Chemistry, McGraw-Hill.
  • Dubnau, D. and Lovett, C.M. (2003) Transformation and recombination. In Bacillus subtilis and Other Gram Positive organisms. Amercian Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C.
  • Hamoen, L.W., Haijema, B., Bijlsma, J.J., Venema, G., and Lovett, C.M. (2001) The Bacillus subtilis competence transcription factor, ComK, overrides LexA-imposed transcriptional inhibition without physically displacing LexA, J. Biol. Chem. 276: 42901-42907.
  • Sadighi, K., Bushar, I.M., O’Gara, T.M., and Lovett, C.M. (1997) DNA microsatellite analysis of endangered populations of timber rattlesnakes Crotalus horridus. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 78 (3).
  • Carter, C.A., Gray, E.A., Schneider, T.L., Lovett, C.M., Scott, L., Messer, A.C. and Richardson, D.P. (1997) Toxicarioside B and Toxicarioside C. New Cardenolides Isolated from Antiaris toxicaria Latex-Derived Dart Poison. Tetrahedron 53: 16959-16968.
  • Carter, C.A., Forney, R.W., Gray, E.A., Gehring, A.M. Schneider, T.L., Young, D.B., Lovett, C.M., Scott, L., Messer, A.C. and Richardson, D.P. (1997) Toxicarioside A. A New Cardenolide Isolated from Antiaris toxicara Latex-Derived Dart Poison. Assignment of the 1H- and 13C-NMR Ahifts for and Antiarigenin Aglycone. Tetrahedron 53: 13557-13566.
  • Miller, M.C., Resnick, J.B., Smith, B.T. and Lovett, C.M. (1996) The Bacillus subtilis dinR Gene Codes for the Anaologue of Escherichia coli LexA: Purification and Characterization of the DinR Protein. J. Biol. Chem. 271: 33502-33508.
  • Lovett, C.M., O’Gara, T.M. and Woodruff, J.N. (1994) Analysis of the SOS Inducing Signal in Bacillus subtilis Using Escherichia coli LexA as a Probe. J. Bacteriol. 176: 4914-4923.
  • Lovett, C.M., Cho, K, and O’Gara, T.M. (1993) Purification of an SOS repressor from Bacillus subtilis. J. Bacteriol. 175: 6842-6849.
  • Szszepanowska, H. and Lovett, C.M. (1992) A Study of the Removal and Prevention of Fungal Stains on Paper. J. Amer. Inst. Cons. 31: 147-160.
  • Lovett, C.M., Love, P.E., and Yasbin, R.E. (1989) Competence-specific induction of the Bacillus subtilis RecA protein analogue: Evidence for dual regulation of a recombination protein. J. Bacteriol. 171: 2318-2322.
  • Lovett, C.M., Fitzgibbon, T. and Chang, R. (1989) Effects of UV irradiation on the thermal denaturation of DNA. J. Chem. Ed. 66: 526-528.
  • Yasbin, R.E., Love, P.E., Jackson, J. and Lovett, C.M. (1988) Evolutionary divergence of the SOS-like system of Bacillus subtilis, p. 485-490. In Mechanisms and Consequences of DNA Damage Processing. Alan R. Liss, Inc.
  • Lovett, C.M., Love, P.E., Yasbin, R.E. and Roberts, J.W. (1988) SOS-like induction in Bacillus subtilis: Induction of the RecA protein analogue and a damage-inducible operon by DNA damage in Rec+ and DNA repair deficient strains. J. Bacteriol. 170: 1467-1474.

Previous Courses Taught

  • CHEM 151: Introductory Concepts of Chemistry
  • CHEM 115: AIDS: The Disease and Search for a Cure
  • CHEM 321: Biochemistry I: Structure and Function of Biological Molecules
  • CHEM 324: Enzyme Kinetics and Reaction Mechanisms
  • CHEM 367: Biophysical Chemistry
  • BIMO 401: Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Honors Research Students

  • Lucas Bruton ’11
  • Kathleen Palmer ’10
  • Kristin Bergethon ’09
  • Nadira Ramkhelawan ’09
  • Mary Haas ’09
  • Katherine Peterson ’08
  • Cailin Collins ’07
  • Alan Rodrigues ’07
  • Jeffrey Wessler ’07
  • Christopher Thom ’06

Summer 2010 Research Students

  • Lucas Bruton ’11
  • Pacifique Irankunda ’13
  • Bianca Martinez ’13
  • Asvelt Nduwumwami ’12
  • Henry Su ’13