Gordon Cannon




  1. B.S.; Clemson University, Clemson, SC (1975)
  2. Ph.D.; Clemson University, Clemson, SC (1982)
  3. Post-Doc.; Roche Institute of Molecular Biology (1982-1987)

Current Research:
Carboxysomes and related bacterial microcompartments are complex structures composed of a limited set of proteins. It is widely accepted that these structures function as microbial organelles, compartmentalizing metabolically important enzymes within the particle to enhance or regulate the enzymatic activity and possibly direct metabolic flow in the cell. Some of the proteins that comprise the boundary shell of the carboxysome are evolutionarily conserved throughout the microbial kingdom and are likely to serve as “metabolic organizers” that represent a novel mechanism of cellular regulation.

We are studying the structures of carboxysome proteins from the sulphur bacterium Halothiobaillus neapolitanus and are determining interactions between the protein components to learn how these bacterial organelles self-assemble and enhance the activity of the enzyme packed inside the microcompartment.

We employ a wide range of proteomic and biochemical techniques, such as recombinant protein expression and targeted mutagenesis, electron microscopy, electrophoresis, dynamic light scattering, ultra-centrifugation and, with our collaborators, x-ray crystallography and electron tomography.

Aside form the obvious goal of understanding the role the particles play in bacterial cell biology we are also striving to apply the principles discovered here to the design of nanodevices, novel synthetic routes and new materials with a wide range of biomedical applications.

Research Interests:

  1. Carboxysomes
  2. Bacterial Microcompartments
  3. Bacterial CO2 Fixation
  4. Enzyme Kinetics
  5. Protein Complex Self-Assembly
  6. Antibody-Based Biosensors
  7. Hexamer Monomer ABCD monomer hexamersheet microcompartment carboxysome shell protein self-assembly

Book Chapters:

  1. Heinhorst, S., Cannon, G.C., and Shively, J.M.: Carboxysomes and Carboxysome-like Inclusions, in: Complex Intracellular Structures in Prokaryotes (J.M. Shively, ed.), Microbiological Monographs (2), pp. 141-165, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (2006).
  2. Heinhorst, S., Chi-Ham, C.L., Adamson, S.W., and Cannon, G.C.: The Somatic Inheritance of Plant Organelles. Chapter 3 in: Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Organelles (H. Daniell and C. Chase, eds), pp. 37-92. Springer-Verlag Dordrecht, NL (2004).

Selected Recent Publications:

  1. Tsai, Y., Sawaya, M.R., Cannon, G.C., Cai, F., Williams, E.B., Heinhorst, S., Kerfeld, C.A. and Yeates, T.O.: The Structure of the Shell Protein CsoS1A from Halothiobacillus neapolitanus and its Implications for Carboxysome Function. Publ. Lib. Sci. (in press).
  2. Heinhorst, S., Williams, E.B., Cai, F., Murin, C.D., Shively, J.M. and Cannon, G.C.: Characterization of the Carboxysomal Carbonic Anhydrase CsoSCA from Halothiobacillus neapolitanus. J. Bacteriol. 188: 8087-8094 (2006).
  3. Sawaya, M.R., Cannon, G.C., Heinhorst, S., Tanaka, S., Williams, E.B., Yeates, T.O. and Kerfeld, C.A.: The Structure of β-Carbonic Anhydrase from the Carboxysomal Shell Reveals a Distinct Subclass with One Active Site for the Price of Two. J. Biol. Chem. 281: 7546-7555 (2006).
  4. So, A.-K., Espie, G.S., Williams, E.B., Shively, J.M., Heinhorst, S. and Cannon, G.C.: A Novel Evolutionary Lineage of Carbonic Anhydrase (ε-class) is a Component of the Carboxysome Shell. J. Bacteriol. 186: 623-630 (2004).
  5. Cannon, G.C., Baker, S.H., Soyer, F., Johnson, D.R., Bradburne, C.E., Mehlman, J.L., Davies, P.S., Jiang, Q.L., Heinhorst, S. and Shively, J.M.: Organization of Carboxysome Genes in the Thiobacilli. Curr. Microbiol. 46: 115-119 (2003).
  6. Heinhorst, S., Baker, S.H., Johnson, D.R., Davies, P.S., Cannon, G.C. and Shively, J.M.: Two Copies of Form I RuBisCO Genes in Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans ATCC 23270. Curr. Microbiol. 45: 115-117 (2002).