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Rebekka Wachter

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Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1604
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1604
Associate Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1604

Professor, School of Molecular Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Office: PSC-307, Lab: PSD-302
Phone: 480-965-8188, Lab: 480-727-7843
Fax: 480-965-2747


Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1996

Research Areas

Physical Biochemistry

Research and Teaching Interests

Protein Biochemistry, Physical Biochemistry, Biological Chemistry. 



Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1996

Research Interests

The Wachter laboratory is interested in understanding how a protein’s three-dimensional structure, dynamic motions and self-assembly guide its biological function.  Our work is primarily focused on chemo-mechanical motor proteins and chromophore-bearing proteins.  Our experimental approach comprises a variety of biophysical methods, with some emphasis on macromolecular X-ray crystallography, protein engineering, mechanistic enzymology, spectroscopic methods and computer modeling.

  • Abdallah, B. G., Zatsepin, N. A., Roy-Chowdhury, S., Coe, J., Conrad, C. E., Dörner, K., Sierra, R. G., Stevenson, H. P., Camacho-Alanis, F., Grant, T. D., Nelson, G., James, D. R., Calero, G., Wachter, R. M., Spence, J. C. H., Weierstall, U., Fromme, P., Ros, A. (2015).  XFEL Diffraction from Protein Nanocrystals Isolated Using a Microfluidic Sorter.  Structural Dynamics 2, Article No. 041719.
  • Hazra, S., Henderson, J. N., Liles, K., Hilton, M., Wachter, R. M. (2015) Regulation of Rubisco Activase: Product Inhibition, Cooperativity, and Magnesium Activation. J. Biol. Chem. 290, 24222-24236.
  • Zook, J., Mo, G., Sisco, N., Craciunescu, F., Hansen, D., Baravati, B., Cherry, B., Wachter, R. M., Van Horn, W., Fromme, P. (2015).  NMR Structure of F. tularensis Virulence Determinant Reveals Structural Homology to Bet v1 Allergen Proteins. Structure 23, 1116-1122.
  • Wachter, R. M. and Henderson, J. N. (2015) Rubisco Rescue.  News & Views, Nature Plants 1, Article No. 14010 (epub January 8, 2015).
  • Kim, H., Zou, T., Modi, C., Doerner, K., Grunkemeyer, T. J., Chen, L., Fromme, R., Matz, M. V., Ozkan, B., Wachter, R. M. (2015).  A Hinge Migration Mechanism Unlocks the Evolution of Green-to-Red Photoconversion in GFP-like Proteins.  Structure 23, 34-43 (epub 12/31/2014)International Press Release.
  • Kuriata, A. M., Chakraborty, M., Henderson, J. N., Hazra, S., Serban, A. J., Pham, T. V. T., Levitus, M., Wachter, R. M. (2014). ATP and Magnesium Promote Rubisco Activase Hexamer Formation at Low Micromolar Concentrations.  Biochemistry 53, 7232–7246 (epub 10/30/2014). 
  • Martin-Garcia, J., Hansen, D., Zook, J., Loskutov, A., Robida, M., Craciunescu, F, Sykes, K., Wachter, R. M., Fromme, P., Allen, J. P. (2014). Purification and Biophysical Characterization of the CapA Membrane Protein FTT0807 from Francisella tularensis. Biochemistry 53, 1958-1970
  • Kim, H., Grunkemeyer, T. J., Modi, C., Chen, L., Fromme, R., Matz, M. V., Wachter, R. M. (2013), Acid-Base Catalysis and Crystal Structures of a Least-Evolved Ancestral GFP-like Protein Undergoing Green-to-Red Photoconversion. Biochemistry 52, 8048-8059Highlighted on the Journal’s Home Page.  
  • Wachter, R. M., Salvucci, M. E., Carmo-Silva, A. E., Barta, C., Genkhov, T., Spreitzer, R. J. (2013), Activation of Interspecies-hybrid Rubisco Enzymes to Assess Different Models for the Rubisco – Rubisco Activase interaction.  Photosynth. Res. 117, 557-566. 
  • Kennis, J. T. M., van Stokkum, I. H. M., Peterson, D. S., Pandit, A., Wachter, R. M. (2013), Ultrafast Proton Shuttling in Psammocora Cyan Fluorescent Protein. J. Phys. Chem. B117, 11134-11143
  • Watkins, J. L., Kim, H., Markwardt, M. L., Chen, L., Fromme, R., Rizzo, M. A., Wachter, R. M. (2013) The 1.6 Å structure of a FRET-optimized Cerulean Fluorescent Protein.  Acta Crystallogr. D69, 767-773.  
  • Henderson, J. N., Hazra, S., Dunkle, A. M., Salvucci, M. E., Wachter, R. M. (2013) Biophysical Characterization of Higher Plant Rubisco Activase. Biophys. Biochim. Acta 1834, 87-97. 
  • Chakraborty, M., Kuriata, A. M., Henderson, J. N., Salvucci, M. E., Wachter, R. M., Levitus, M. (2012) Protein Oligomerization Monitored by Fluorescence Fluctuation Spectroscopy: Self-Assembly of Rubisco Activase.  Biophys. J. 103, 949-958.  
  • Henderson, J. N., Kuriata, A. M., Fromme, R., Salvucci, M. E., Wachter, R. M. (2011) Atomic Resolution X-ray Structure of the Substrate Recognition Domain of Higher Plant Rubisco Activase.  J. Biol. Chem. 286, 35683-35688.  
  • Markwardt, M. L., Kremers, G.-J., Kraft, C. A., Ray, K., Cranfill, P. J. C., Wilson, K. A., Day, R. N., Wachter, R. M., Davidson, M. W., Rizzo, M. A. (2011) An Improved Cerulean Flourescent Protein with Enhanced Brightness and Reduced Reversible Photoswitching.  PlosOne 6, e17896. 
  • Wachter, R. M., Watkins, J. L., Kim, H. (2010) Mechanistic Diversity of Red Fluorescence Acquisition by GFP-like Proteins. Biochemistry 49, 7417-7427.  Current Topics Invited Review. Highlighted on the Journal’s Home Page. 
  • Barta, C., Dunkle, A. M., Wachter, R. M., Salvucci, M. E. (2010) Structural Changes Associated with the Acute Thermal Instability of Rubisco Activase. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 499, 17-25. 
  • Pouwels, L. J., Zhang, L., Chan, N. H., Dorrestein, P. C., Wachter, R. M.  (2008) Kinetic Isotope Effect Studies on the de novo Rate of Chromophore Formation in Fast- and Slow-maturing GFP Variants.  Biochemistry 47, 10111-10122.
  • Malo, G. D., Wang, M., Wu, D., Stellin, A., Tonge, P. J., Wachter, R. M.  (2008) Crystal Structure and Raman Studies of dsFP483, a Cyan Fluorescent Protein from Discosoma striataJ. Mol. Biol. 378, 869-884.
  • Malo, G. D., Pouwels, L. J., Wang, M., Weichsel, A., Montfort, W. R., Rizzo, M. A., Piston, D. W., Wachter, R. M. (2007). X-ray Structure of Cerulean GFP: A Tryptophan-Based Chromophore Useful for Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging.  Biochemistry 46, 9865-9873.  Accelerated Publication. Featured as “Hot Article”, Featured on the Journal’s Most Accessed Articles Website. 
  • Wachter, R. M. (2007).   Chromogenic Cross-link Formation in Green Fluorescent Protein.  Acc. Chem. Res. 40, 120-127.  Invited Review. 
  • Zhang, L., Patel, H. N., Lappe, J. W., Wachter, R. M. (2006).  Reaction Progress of Chromophore Biogenesis in Green Fluorescent Protein.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 4766-4772. 
  • Wachter, R. M. (2006).  The family of GFP-like proteins: Structure, Function, Photophysics and Biosensor Applications.  Introduction and Perspective, Symposium-in-print, Photochem. Photobiol. 82, 339-344.  Invited Review.  
  • Wachter, R. M. (2006).  Mechanistic Aspects of GFP Chromophore Biogenesis.  Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging 7. Proc. of SPIE Vol. 6098, 609803-1 – 609803-8.  Keynote Paper.
  • Wang, M., Patel, H. N., Wachter, R. M. (2005).  X-ray Diffraction Analysis and Molecular Replacement Solution of the Cyan Fluorescent Protein dsFP483.  Acta Crystallogr. F61, 922-924. 
  • Sniegowski, J. A., Phail, M. E., Wachter, R. M. (2005).  Maturation Efficiency, Trypsin Sensitivity and Optical Properties of Arg96, Glu222 and Gly67 Variants of Green Fluorescent Protein.  Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 332, 657-663. 
  • Scruggs, A. W., Flores, C. L., Wachter, R. M., Woodbury, N. W. (2005).  Development and Characterization of Green Fluorescent Protein Mutants with Altered Lifetimes.  Biochemistry 44, 13377- 13384. 
  • Rosenow, M. A., Patel, H. N, Wachter, R. M. (2005).  Oxidative Chemistry in the GFP Active Site Leads to Covalent Cross-Linking of a Modified Leucine Side Chain with a Histidine Imidazole:  Implications for the Mechanism of Chromophore Formation.  Biochemistry 44, 8303-8311. 
  • Sniegowski, J. A., Lappe, J. W., Patel, H. N., Huffman, H. A., Wachter, R. M. (2005).  Base-catalysis of Chromophore Fromation in Arg96 and Glu222 variants of Green Fluorescent Protein.  J. Biol. Chem. 280, 26248-26255. 
  • Remington, S. J., Wachter, R. M., Yarbrough, D. K., Branchaud, B. P., Anderson, D. C., Kallio, K., Lukyanov, K. A. (2005).  zFP538, a Yellow Fluorescent Protein from Zoanthus, Contains a Novel Three-Ring Chromophore.  Biochemistry 44, 202-212.  “Top ten most cited”, Year 2005.
  • Rosenow, M. A., Huffman, H. A., Phail, M. E., Wachter, R. M. (2004).  The Crystal Structure of the Y66L Variant of Green Fluorescent Protein Supports a Cyclization-Oxidation-Dehydration Mechanism for Chromophore Maturation.  Biochemistry 43, 4464-4472. 
  • Wachter, R. M. (2004).  Focus Note: The Art of Disentangling Difference Electron Density Maps:  Snapshots of Early States in the Photoactive Yellow Protein Photocycle?  Photochem. Photobiol. 80, No.1, ix-x.  Invited Editorial.
  • Bell, A. F., Stoner-Ma, D., Wachter, R. M., Tonge, P. J. (2003).  Light Driven Decarboxylation of Wild-Type Green Fluorescent Protein.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125, 6919-6926. 
  • Yarbrough, D., Wachter, R. M., Kallio, K., Matz, M. V., Remington, S. J. (2001).  Refined Crystal Structure of DsRed, a Red Fluorescent Protein from Coral, at 2.0 Å Resolution.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98, 462-467. 
  • Wachter, R. M., Yarbrough, D., Kallio, K., Remington, S. J. (2000).  Crystallographic and Energetic Analysis of Binding of Selected Anions to the Yellow Variants of Green Fluorescent Protein.  J. Mol. Biol. 301, 159-173. 
  • Bell, A. F., He, X., Wachter, R. M., Tonge, P. J. (2000).  Probing the Ground State Structure of the Green Fluorescent Protein Chromophore Using Raman Spectroscopy.  Biochemistry 39, 4423-4431. 
  • Jayaraman, S.,  Haggie, P.,  Wachter, R. M.,  Remington, S. J.,  Verkman, A. S. (2000).  Mechanism and Cellular Applications of a Green Fluorescent Protein-based Halide Sensor.  J. Biol. Chem. 275, 6047-6050. 
  • Wachter, R. M., Remington, S. J. (1999).  Sensitivity of the YFP Form of Green Fluorescent Protein to Halides and Nitrate.  Curr. Biol. 9, R628-R629. 
  • Elsliger, M.-A.,  Wachter, R. M.,  Kallio, K.,  Hanson, G. T.,  Remington, S. J. (1999).  Structural and Spectral Response of Green Fluorescent Protein Variants to Changes in pH.  Biochemistry  38, 5296-5301. 
  • Wachter, R. M., Elsliger, M.-A.,  Kallio, K.,  Hanson, G. T.,  Remington, S. J. (1998).  Structural Basis of Spectral Shifts in the Yellow-emission Variants (YFPs) of Green Fluorescent Protein.  Structure 6, 1267-1277. 
  • Wachter, R. M., Branchaud, B. P. (1998).  Construction and Analysis of a Semi-quantitative Energy Profile for the Reaction Catalyzed by the Radical Enzyme Galactose Oxidase.  Biochim. Biophys. Acta  1384, 43-54. 
  • Wachter, R. M., King, B. A.,  Heim, R.,  Kallio, K.,  Tsien, R. Y.,  Boxer, S. G.,  Remington, S. J. (1997).  Crystal Structure and Photodynamic Behavior of the Blue-emission Variant Y66H/Y145F of Green Fluorescent Protein.  Biochemistry 36, 9759-9765. 
  • Wachter, R. M., Montague-Smith, M. P.,  Branchaud, B. P. (1997).  Beta-Haloethanol Substrates as Probes for Radical Mechanisms for Galactose Oxidase.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 119, 7743-7749. 
  • Wachter, R. M.,  Branchaud, B. P. (1996).  Thiols as Mechanistic Probes for Catalysis by the Free Radical Enzyme Galactose Oxidase.  Biochemistry 35, 14425-14435
  • Wachter, R. M., Branchaud, B. P (1996). Molecular Modeling Studies on Oxidation of Hexopyranoses by Galactose Oxidase.  An Active Site Topology Apparently Designed to Catalyze Radical Reactions, Either Concerted or Stepwise.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 118, 2782-2789. 
  • Montague-Smith, M. P., Wachter, R. M., Branchaud, B. P. (1992).  Preparation of Fully Oxidized Active and Reduced Inactive Forms of Galactose Oxidase from Dactylium dendroides Using Ferricyanide-containing Oxidizing and Ferrocyanide-containing Reducing Forms of Ion Exchange Resins.  Anal. Biochem. 207, 353-355.
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
BCH 463Biophysical Chemistry
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
BCH 463Biophysical Chemistry
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
BCH 494Special Topics
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
BCH 463Biophysical Chemistry
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
BCH 463Biophysical Chemistry
BCH 494Special Topics
Fall 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
BCH 463Biophysical Chemistry
BCH 494Special Topics
Spring 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
BCH 463Biophysical Chemistry
Fall 2013
Course NumberCourse Title
BCH 463Biophysical Chemistry
BCH 494Special Topics
BDE 701Biological Design I
Spring 2013
Course NumberCourse Title
BCH 494Special Topics
BCH 561Adv Topics in Biochemistry