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Songon An

Contact Information
Office: MEYR 462A
Phone: 410-455-2514

Assistant Professor

Post-Doctoral Pennsylvania State University 2011; Ph.D. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities 2005; B.S. Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea 1997

Professional Interests

Cellular Biochemistry of Metabolic Multienzyme Complexes in Living Cells

The broad objective of my laboratory is to contribute to our understanding of how sequential metabolic enzymes are organized in living cells and how such metabolic organizations are spatially and/or temporarily regulated in response to cellular signals relevant to human diseases; including but not limited to cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Since the concept of the “metabolon” was conceived in 1970s, the discovery of the “purinosome”, a reversible metabolic macromolecular complex in human cells [S.An et al. Science (2008) 320, 103], stands as the first examples of transient metabolons in live cells and thus sets the stage for an extraordinary opportunity to explore the spatial and temporal advantages to the cell in assembling and disassembling this cluster of proteins. Indeed, my laboratory is highly motivated to further explore the purinosome and other cellular metabolons as the heart of human disease mechanisms. Collectively, the research projects in my laboratory have potentials to invoke a paradigm shift in our thinking about the operation of cellular biosynthetic pathways, and outcomes will be beneficial for human health.

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Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed Publications

1. Songon An and Karin Musier-Forsyth “Trans-editing of Cys-tRNAPro by Haemophilus influenzae YbaK protein” Journal of Biological Chemistry – Accelerated Publication (2004) 279, 42359-42362

2. Songon An and Karin Musier-Forsyth “Cys-tRNAPro Editing by Haemophilus influenzae YbaK via a NovelSynthetase-YbaK-tRNA Ternary Complex” Journal of Biological Chemistry (2005) 280, 34465-34472

3. Songon An, George Barany and Karin Musier-Forsyth “Evolution of Acceptor Stem tRNA Recognition by Class II Prolyl-tRNA Synthetase” Nucleic Acids Research (2008) 36, 2514-2521

4. Brian Burke, Songon An and Karin Musier-Forsyth “Functional Guanine-Arginine Interaction Between tRNAPro and Prolyl-tRNA Synthetase that Couples Binding and Catalysis Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Proteins and Proteomics (2008) 1784, 1222-1225

5. Songon An*, Ravindra Kumar, Erin D. Sheets*, and Stephen J. Benkovic* “Reversible Compartmentalization of de novo Purine Biosynthetic Complexes in Living Cells” Science (2008) 320, 103-106 *Co-corresponding authors

(i) Chemistry & Engineering News – Latest News:

(ii) ACS Chemical Biology – Spotlight:

(iii) Faculty of 1000 Biology – FFa12:

6. Anjali Mascarenhas, Songon An, Abbey E. Rogen, Susan Martinis and Karin Musier-Forsyth “Fidelity Mechanism of Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetases” in Protein Engineering (2009) Eds. Uttam L. RajBhandary and Caroline Köhrer, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, ISBN: 978-3-540-70937-4, e-ISBN: 978-3-540-70941-1, pp155-203

7. Songon An, Minjoung Kyoung, Jasmina J. Allen, Kevan M. Shokat and Stephen J. Benkovic “Dynamic Regulation of a Metabolic Multi-Enzyme Complex by Protein Kinase CK2” Journal of Biological Chemistry(2010) 285, 11093-11099

8. Songon An, Yijun Deng, John W. Tomsho, Minjoung Kyoung, and Stephen J. Benkovic “Microtubule-assisted Mechanism for Functional Metabolic Macromolecular Complex Formation” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (2010) 107, 12872-12876

9. Byung Ran So, Songon An, Sandeep Kumar, Mom Das, Daniel A. Turner, Christopher M. Hadad  and Karin Musier-Forsyth “Substrate-mediated fidelity mechanism ensures accurate decoding of proline codons”Journal of Biological Chemistry (2011) 286, 31810-31820

10. Florence Verrier*, Songon An*, Ann M. Ferrie, Haiyan Sun, Minjoung Kyoung, Huayun Deng, Ye Fang and Stephen J. Benkovic “GPCR regulates the assembly of a multienzyme complex for purine biosynthesis”(2011) 7, 909-915 *Co-first authors


1. Florence Verrier, Songon An, Ye Fang, and Stephen J. Benkovic “Methods to identify targets and molecules regulating purinosomes and their uses” (2010)

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 684: Special Topics in Chemistry (Spring 2012)
  • CHEM 690: Chemistry Seminar (Fall 2012)
  • CHEM 713: Biochemistry/Chemistry Seminar (Fall 2012)