Selected Publications

(59) 19-06-06 updated TOC graphic.png

59. Jiang, Yindi; Stornetta, Alessia; Villalta, Peter W.; Wilson, Matthew R.; Boudreau, Paul D.; Zha, Li; Balbo, Silvia; Balskus, Emily P. “Reactivity of an unusual amidase may explain colibactin’s DNA cross-linking activity” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2019, Articles ASAP.


(58) Rekdal TOC graphic for website.png

58. Maini Rekdal, Vayu; Bess, Elizabeth N.; Bisanz, Jordan E.; Turnbaugh, Peter J.; Balskus, Emily P. “Discovery and inhibition of an interspecies gut bacterial pathway for Levodopa metabolism” Science 2019, 364, eaau6323.

(57) TOC_graphic_20190504.png

57. Volpe, Matthew R.; Wilson, Matthew R.; Brotherton, Carolyn A.; Winter, Ethan S.; Johnson, Sheila E.; Balskus, Emily P.In vitro characterization of the colibactin-activating peptidase ClbP enables development of a fluorogenic activity probe” ACS Chemical Biology 2019, Articles ASAP.


(56) Wilson graphical abstract.png

56. Wilson, Matthew R.*; Jiang, Yindi*; Villalta, Peter W.; Stornetta, Alessia; Boudreau, Paul D.; Carrá, Andrea; Brennan, Caitlin A.; Chun, Eunyoung; Ngo, Lizzie; Samson, Leona D.; Engelward, Bevin P.; Garrett, Wendy S.; Balbo, Silvia; Balskus, Emily P. “The human gut bacterial genotoxin colibactin alkylates DNA” Science 2019, 363, eaar7785. doi:10.1126/science.aar7785

(55) Nature SznF discovery.png

55. Ng, Tai L.; Rohac, Roman; Mitchell, Andrew J.; Boal, Amie K.; Balskus, Emily P. “An N-nitrosating metalloenzyme constructs the pharmacophore of streptozotocin” Nature 2019, 566, 94–99. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-0894-z

(54) 19-02-15 large TOC graphic.png

54. Schultz, Erica E.*; Braffman, Nathaniel R.*; Luescher, Michael U.; Hager, Harry H.; Balskus, Emily P. “Biocatalytic Friedel–Crafts Alkylation Using a Promiscuous Biosynthetic Enzyme” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2019, 58, 3151–3155. doi:10.1002/anie.201814016

(53) PNAS IslA paper graphical abstract.png

53. Peck, Spencer C.; Denger, Karin; Burrichter, Anna; Irwin, Stephania M.; Balskus, Emily P.; Schleheck, David “A glycyl radical enzyme enables hydrogen sulfide production by the human intestinal bacterium Bilophila wadsworthiaProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2019, 116, 3171–3176. doi:10.1073/pnas.1815661116

(52) TOC.png

52. Martins, Teresa P.; Rouger, Caroline; Glasser, Nathaniel R.; Freitas, Sara; de Fraissinette, Nelly B.; Balskus, Emily P.; Tasdemir, Deniz; Leão, Pedro N. “Chemistry, bioactivity and biosynthesis of cyanobacterial alkylresorcinols” Natural Product Reports 2019, Advance Article. doi:10.1039/C8NP00080H

(51) Orman TOC graphic.png

51. Orman, Marina; Bodea, Smaranda; Funk, Michael A.; Martínez-del Campo, Ana; Bollenbach, Maud; Drennan, Catherine L.; Balskus, Emily P. “Structure-Guided Identification of a Small Molecule That Inhibits Anaerobic Choline Metabolism by Human Gut Bacteria” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2019, 141, 33–37. doi:10.1021/jacs.8b04883 

(50) Nat Microbiol Chittim graphical abstract.png

50. Chittim, Carina L.; Martínez del Campo, Ana.; Balskus, Emily P. “Gut bacterial phospholipase Ds support disease-associated metabolism by generating choline” Nature Microbiology 2018, 4, 155–163. doi:10.1038/s41564-018-0294-4

(49) TOC.png

49. Rajakovich, Lauren J.; Balskus, Emily P. “Metabolic functions of the human gut microbiota: the role of metalloenzymes” Natural Product Reports 2018, 36, 593–625. doi:10.1039/C8NP00074C

(48) Nat Comm kinamycin graphical abstract.png

48. Wang, Kwo-Kwang A.; Ng, Tai L.; Wang, Peng; Huang, Zedu; Balskus, Emily P.; van der Donk, Wilfred A. “Glutamic acid is a carrier for hydrazine during the biosyntheses of fosfazinomycin and kinamycin” Nature Communications 2018, 9, 3687. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06083-7

(47) 18-05-31 Figure 1 cropped.png

47. Levin, Benjamin J.; Balskus, Emily P. “Discovering radical-dependent enzymes in the human gut microbiota” Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 2018, 47, 86–93. doi:10.1016/j.cbpa.2018.09.011


46. Waldman, Abraham J.; Balskus, Emily P. "Discovery of a diazo-forming enzyme in cremeomycin biosynthesis" The Journal of Organic Chemistry 201883, 7539–7546. doi:10.1021/acs.joc.8b00367

(48) eLife Cgr2 graphical abstract.png

45. Koppel, Nitzan; Bisanz, Jordan E.; Pandelia, Maria-Eirini; Turnbaugh, Peter J.*; Balskus, Emily P.* "Discovery and characterization of a prevalent human gut bacterial enzyme sufficient for the inactivation of a family of plant toxins" eLife 20187, e33953. doi:10.7554/eLife.33953.001

(44) 18-04-12 graphical abstract.png

44. Chittim, Carina; Irwin, Stephania M.; Balskus, Emily P. "Deciphering human gut microbiota-nutrient interactions: a role for biochemistry" Biochemistry 2018, 57, 2567–2577. doi:10.1021/acs.biochem.7b01277


43. Maini Rekdal, Vayu; Balskus, Emily P. "Gut Microbiota: Rational Manipulation of Gut Bacterial Metalloenzymes Provides Insights into Dysbiosis and Inflammation" Biochemistry 2018, 57, 2291–2293.  doi:10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00340


42. Schneider, Benjamin A.; Balskus, Emily P. "Discovery of small molecule protease inhibitors by investigating a widespread human gut bacterial biosynthetic pathway" Tetrahedron 2018, 74, 3215–3230. doi:10.1016/j.tet.2018.03.043

(41) Levin TOC graphic super high res.png

41. Levin, Benjamin J.; Balskus, Emily P. "Characterization of 1,2-Propanediol Dehydratases Reveals Distinct Mechanisms for B12-Dependent and Glycyl Radical Enzymes" Biochemistry 2018, 57, 3222–3226. doi:10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00164

(40) Graphic for website.png

40. Huang, Yolanda Y.; Martínez-del Campo, Ana; Balskus, Emily P. "Anaerobic 4-hydroxyproline utilization: discovery of a new glycyl radical enzyme in the human gut microbiome uncovers a widespread microbial metabolic activity" Gut Microbes 2018, 0, 1–15. doi:10.1080/19490976.2018.1435244

(39) TOC graphic.png

39. Waldman, Abraham J.; Balskus, Emily P. "The human microbiota, infectious disease, and global health: challenges and opportunities" ACS Infectious Diseases 2018, 4, 14–26. doi:10.1021/acsinfecdis.7b00232

(38) 17-10-24 TOC.png

38. Kenny, Douglas J.; Balskus, Emily P. "Engineering chemical interactions in microbial communities" Chemical Society Reviews 2018, 47, 1705–1729. doi:10.1039/c7cs00664k

(37) choline figure for Peter.png

37. Romano, Kymberleigh A.*; Martínez-del Campo, Ana*; Kasahara, Kazuyuki; Chittim, Carina L.; Vivas, Eugenio I.; Amador-Noguez, Daniel; Balskus, Emily P.; Rey, Federico E. "Metabolic, Epigenetic, and Transgenerational Effects of Gut Bacterial Choline Consumption" Cell Host & Microbe 201722, 279–290. doi:10.1016/j.chom.2017.07.021


36. Zha, Li; Jiang, Yindi; Henke, Matthew T.; Wilson, Matthew R.; Wang, Jennifer X.; Kelleher, Neil L.; Balskus, Emily P. "Colibactin assembly line enzymes use S-adenosylmethionine to build a cyclopropane ring." Nature Chemical Biology 201713, 1063–1065. doi:10.1038/nchembio.2448


35. Nakamura, Hitomi; Schultz, Erica E.; Balskus, Emily P. "A new strategy for aromatic ring alkylation in cylindrocyclophane biosynthesis." Nature Chemical Biology 201713, 916–921. doi:10.1038/nchembio.2421


34. Koppel, Nitzan; Rekdal, Vayu M.; Balskus, Emily P. "Chemical transformations of xenobiotics by the human gut microbiota." Science 2017, 356, eaag2770. doi:10.1126/science.aag2770

33. Wilson, Matthew R.; Zha, Li; Balskus, Emily P. "Natural product discovery from the human microbiome." Journal of Biological Chemistry 2017, 292, 8546–8552. doi:10.1074/jbc.R116.762906


32. Waldman, Abraham J.; Ng, Tai L.; Wang, Peng; Balskus, Emily P. "Heteroatom–Heteroatom Bond Formation in Natural Product Biosynthesis." Chemical Reviews 2017, 117, 5784–5863. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrev.6b00621


31. Wang, Peng; Hong, Gloria J.; Wilson, Matthew R.; Balskus, Emily P. "Production of Stealthin C Involves an S–N-Type Smiles Rearrangement." Journal of the American Chemical Society 2017, 139, 2864–2867. doi:10.1021/jacs.6b10586


30. Levin, Benjamin J.*; Huang, Yolanda Y.*; Peck, Spencer C.; Wei, Yifeng; Martinez-del Campo, Ana; Marks, Jonathan A.; Franzosa, Eric A.; Huttenhower, Curtis; Balskus, Emily P. “A Prominent Glycyl Radical Enzyme in Human Gut Microbiomes Metabolizes trans-4-Hydroxy-L-Proline.” Science 2017, 355, aai8386.  doi:10.1126/science.aai8386


29. Bodea, Smaranda; Funk, Michael A.; Balskus, Emily P.; Drennan, Catherine L. “Molecular Basis of C–N Bond Cleavage by the Glycyl Radical Enzyme Choline Trimethylamine-Lyase.” Cell Chemical Biology 201623,1206–1216.

28. Martinez-del Campo, Ana; Romano, Kymberleigh. A.; Rey, Federico E.; Balskus, Emily P. “The Plot Thickens: Diet Microbe Interactions May Modulate Thrombosis Risk.” Cell Metabolism 2016, 23, 573–575. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.03.017


27. Wallace, Stephen; Balskus, Emily P. “Designer Micelles Accelerate Flux Through Engineered Metabolism in E. coli and Support Biocompatible Chemistry.” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2016, 55, 6023–6027. doi: 10.1002/anie.201600966


26. Zha, Li; Wilson, Matthew R.; Brotherton, Carolyn A.; Balskus, Emily P. “Characterization of Polyketide Synthase Machinery from the pks Island Facilitates Isolation of a Candidate Precolibactin.” ACS Chemical Biology 201611, 1287–1295. doi:10.1021/acschembio.6b00014


25. Koppel, Nitzan and Balskus, Emily P. “Exploring and Understanding the Biochemical Diversity of the Human Microbiota.” Cell Chemical Biology 2016, 23, 18–30. doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2015.12.008

24. Unified Microbiome Initative Consortuim “A unified initiative to harness Earth's microbiomes.” Science 2015350, 507–508. doi:10.1126/science.aac8480


23. Balskus, Emily P. “Colibactin: Understanding an Elusive Gut Bacterial Genotoxin.” Natural Product Reports Highlight 2015, 32, 1534–1540. doi:10.1039/C5NP00091B

22. Medema, Marnix H. et al. “Minimum Information about a Biosynthetic Gene Cluster.” Nature Chemical Biology 201511, 625–631. doi:10.1038/nchembio.1890

(21) 15-1-26 TOC.png

21. Waldman, Abraham, J.; Pechersky, Yakov; Wang, Peng; Wang, Jennifer X.; Balskus, Emily P. “The Cremeomycin Biosynthetic Gene Cluster Encodes a Pathway for Diazo Formation.” ChemBioChem 201516, 2172-2175. doi:10.1002/cbic.201500407


20. Leão, Pedro N.; Nakamura, Hitomi; Costa, Margarida; Pereira, Alban R.; Martins, Rosário; Vasconcelos, Vitor; Gerwick William H.; Balskus, Emily P. “Biosynthesis-Assisted Structural Elucidation of the Bartolosides, Chlorinated Aromatic Glycolipids from Cyanobacteria.” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2015, 54, 11063–11067. doi:10.1002/anie.201503186

19. Brotherton, Carolyn A.; Balskus, Emily P. “Shedding Light on Sunscreen Biosynthesis in Zebrafish” eLife 20154, e07961. Insight article. doi:10.7554/eLife.07961


18. Wallace, Stephen; Balskus, Emily P. “Interfacing Microbial Styrene Production with a Biocompatible Cyclopropanation Reaction.” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 7106–7109. doi:10.1002/anie.201502185


17. Nakamura, Hitomi; Wang, Jennifer X.; Balskus, Emily P. “Assembly Line Termination in Cylindrocyclophane Biosynthesis: Discovery of an Editing Type II Thioesterase Domain in a Type I Polyketide Synthase.” Chem. Sci. 20156, 3816–3822. doi:10.1039/C4SC03132F


16. Martinez-del Campo, Ana; Craciun, Smaranda; Hamer, Hilary A.; Haiser, Henry J.; Turnbaugh, Peter J.; Balskus, Emily P. “Characterization and Detection of a Widely Distributed Gene Cluster that Predicts Anaerobic Choline Utilization by Human Gut Bacteria.” mBio 20156, e00042-15. doi:10.1128/mBio.00042-15


15. Brotherton, Carolyn A.; Wilson, Matthew; Byrd, G.; Balskus, Emily P. "Isolation of a Metabolite from the pks Island Provides Insights into Colibactin Biosynthesis and Activity." Organic Letters 201517, 1545–1548. doi:10.1021/acs.orglett.5b00432


14. Wallace, Stephen; Schultz, Erica E.; Balskus, Emily P. "Using Non-Enzymatic Chemistry to Influence Microbial Metabolism." Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 201525, 71–79. doi:10.1016/j.cbpa.2014.12.024

13. Balskus, Emily P. "Sponge Symbionts Play Defense." Nature Chemical Biology 201410, 611–612. News and viewsdoi:10.1038/nchembio.1588


12. Sirasani, Gopal; Tong, Liuchuan; Balskus, Emily P. "A Biocompatible Alkene Hydrogenation Merges Organic Synthesis with Microbial Metabolism." Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2014, 53, 7785–7786. Chosen as a Research Highlight in Nature 2014, 510, 447. doi:10.1002/anie.201403148


11. Craciun, Smaranda; Marks, Jonathan A.; Balskus, Emily P. “Characterization of Choline Trimethylamine-Lyase Expands the Chemistry of Glycyl Radical Enzymes.” ACS Chemical Biology 20149, 1408–1413. doi:10.1021/cb500113p


10. Wallace, Stephen; Balskus, Emily P. "Opportunities for Merging Chemical and Biological Synthesis." Current Opinion in Biotechnology 201430, 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.copbio.2014.03.006


9. Janso, Jeffrey E.; Haltli, Brad A.; Eustáquio, Alessandra S.; Kulowski, Kerry; Waldman, Abraham J.; Zha, Li; Nakamura, Hitomi; Bernan, Valerie S.; He, Haiyin; Carter, Guy T.; Koehn, Frank E.; Balskus, Emily P. "Discovery of the Lomaiviticin Biosynthetic Gene Cluster in Salinispora pacifica." Tetrahedron 201470, 4156–4164. Part of a Symposium-in-Print to honor Prof. Sarah Reisman. doi:10.1016/j.tet.2014.03.009


8. Haiser, Henry J.; Seim, Kristen L.; Balskus, Emily P.; Turnbaugh, Peter J. "Mechanistic Insight into Digoxin Inactivation by Eggerthella lenta Augments Our Understanding of its Pharmacokinetics." Gut Microbes 20145, 233–238. doi:10.4161/gmic.27915


7. Waldman, A.; Balskus, Emily P. "Lomaiviticin Biosynthesis Employs a New Strategy for Starter Unit Generation." Organic Letters 201416, 640–643. doi:10.1021/ol403714g


6. Lee, Yunmi; Umeano, Afoma; Balskus, Emily P. "Rescuing Auxotrophic Microorganisms with Nonenzymatic Chemistry." Angewandte Chemie International Edition 201353, 11800–11803Selected as a Very Important Paper (VIP). doi:10.1002/anie.201307033

5. Haiser, Henry J.; Gootenberg, David B.; Chatman, Kelly; Sirasani, Gopal; Balskus, Emily P.; Turnbaugh, Peter J. “Predicting and Manipulating Cardiac Drug Inactivation by the Human Gut Microbe Eggerthella lenta.” Science 2013341, 295–298. doi:10.1126/science.1235872


4. Nakamura, Hitomi; Balskus, Emily P. “Using Chemical Knowledge to Uncover New Biological Function: Discovery of the Cylindrocyclophane Biosynthetic Pathway.” Synlett201324, 1464–1470. Invited commentarydoi:10.1055/s-0033-1338879


3. Brotherton, Carolyn A.; Balskus, Emily P. “A Prodrug Mechanism is Involved in Colibactin Biosynthesis and Cytotoxicity.” Journal of the American Chemical Society2013135, 3359–3362. doi:10.1021/ja312154m


2. Craciun, Smaranda; Balskus, Emily P. “Microbial Conversion of Choline to Trimethylamine Requires a Glycyl Radical Enzyme.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2012109, 21307–21312. doi:10.1073/pnas.1215689109


1. Nakamura, Hitomi; Hamer, Hilary A.; Sirasani, Gopal; Balskus, Emily P. “Cylindrocyclophane Biosynthesis Involves Functionalization of an Unactivated Carbon Center.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012134, 18518–18521. doi:10.1021/ja308318p

Postdoctoral Work

Balskus, Emily P.; Case, Rebecca J.; Walsh, Christopher T. “The Biosynthesis of Cyanobacterial Sunscreen Scytonemin in Microbial Mat Communities.” FEMS Microbiology Ecology 201177, 322–332. doi:

Balskus, Emily P.; Walsh, Christopher T. “The Genetic and Molecular Basis for Sunscreen Biosynthesis in Cyanobacteria.” Science 2010329, 1653–1656.  Highlighted as a Science Express article, in The New Scientist online, and in Chemical & Engineering News 2010, 88, 59. doi:10.1126/science.1193637

Balskus, Emily P.; Walsh, Christopher T. “An Enzymatic Cyclopentyl[b]indole Formation Involved in Scytonemin Biosynthesis.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2009131, 14648–14649. doi:10.1021/ja906752u

Balskus, Emily P.; Walsh, Christopher T. “Investigating the Initial Steps in the Biosynthesis of Cyanobacterial Sunscreen Scytonemin.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2008130, 15260–15261. doi:10.1021/ja807192u

Graduate Work

Groll, Michael; Balskus, Emily P.; Jacobsen, Eric N. “Structural Analysis of Spiro beta-Lactone Proteasome Inhibitors.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2008130, 14981­–14983. doi:10.1021/ja806059t

Balskus, Emily P.; Jacobsen, Eric N. “Asymmetric Catalysis of the Transannular Diels-Alder Reaction.” Science 2007317, 1736–1740. Highlighted in Chemistry World 2007, 4, 33 and Chemical & Engineering News 2007, 85, 17. doi:10.1126/science.1146939

Balskus, Emily P.; Jacobsen, Eric N. “Development of alpha,beta-Unsaturated, beta-Silyl Imide Substrates for Enantioselective Conjugate Additions: Application to the Total Synthesis of (+)-Lactacystin and the Discovery of a New Proteasome Inhibitor.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2006128, 6810–6811. doi:10.1021/ja061970a