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Oksana Leszczyszyn

Oksana I. Leszczyszyn

Bsc.(Hons), PhD, AMRC 

Associate Fellow
Chemical Biology Group
Department of Chemistry
University of Warwick


Metallothioneins (MTs) are cysteine rich proteins, which are able to bind copious amounts of metal ions, such as zinc, copper and cadmium. Since their discovery in the late 1950s, metallothioneins have been the focus of intense scientific interest, and presently 800 sequences from a wide variety of organisms have been deposited in nucleotide and protein databases.
Despite the abundance of information available for the biology of metallothionein genes, there is a significant shortfall in research about the structure and metal binding dynamics of the protein products, especially for non-mammalian MTs. To fill this void, my research focuses on the characterisation of both the structure and biochemical properties of MT proteins. I am particularly interested in the way the metal binding and biochemical properties may be correlated with tertiary structure, and ultimately with the biological function of these intruiging proteins.
Currently, I am looking at MTs from two different organisms:
1. CeMT1 and CeMT2 isoforms from C. elegans.
2. A seed-specific zinc binding metallothionein from wheat germ: EC 
The solution NMR of biologically relevent metal ions.
Structural basis for metal-binding specificity/selectivity.
Towards a property/function relationship for metallothioneins: histidine coordination and unusual cluster composition in a zinc-metallothionein from plants
Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics (2007) 68:922-935
Oksana I. Leszczyszyn, Ralf Schmid and Claudia A. Blindauer
Differential reactivity of individual zinc ions in clusters from bacterial metallothioneins
Inorganica Chimica Acta (2007) 360(1):3-13
Oksana I. Leszczyszyn, Christine D. Evans, Stella E. Keiper, Gemma Z.L. Warren and Claudia A. Blindauer

Site-specific N-terminus conjugation of poly(mPEG1100) methacrylates to salmon calcitonin: synthesis and preliminary biological evaluation
Soft Matter (2009) 5:3038-3046
Claire T. Sayers, Giuseppe Mantovani, Sinead M. Ryan, Rajan K. Randev, Odin Keiper, Oksana I. Leszczyszyn, Claudia Blindauer, David J. Brayden and David M. Haddleton
Metallothioneins: unparalleled diversity in structures and functions for metal ion homeostasis and more
Natural Products Reports (2010) 27:720-741
Claudia A. Blindauer and Oksana I. Leszczyszyn
The isolated Cys2His2 site in EC metallothionein mediates metal-specific protein folding
Molecular Biosystems (2010) DOI: 10.1039/c002348e
Oksana I. Leszczyszyn, Craig R. J. White and Claudia A. Blindauer
The two C. elegans metallothioneins discriminate between essential zinc and toxic cadmium
FEBS Journal (2010) 277: 2531-2542
Sukaina Zeitoun-Ghandour, John Charnock, Mark Hodson, Oksana Leszczyszyn, Claudia Blindauer and Stephen Sturzenbaum