Joel Sussman

Joel Sussman
Born (1943-09-24) 24 September 1943
Residence Israel
Nationality Israeli
Fields Crystallography
Institutions Weizmann Institute of Science
Alma mater Cornell University
Hebrew University
Known for Studies on acetylcholinesterase
Notable awards Samuel and Paula Elkeles Prize (2005)
Teva Founders' Award (2006)

Joel L. Sussman (born September 24, 1943) is an Israeli crystallographer best known for his studies on acetylcholinesterase, a key protein involved in transmission of nerve signals. Born in Philadelphia, he is the Morton and Gladys Pickman Professor of Structural Biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot and the director of the Israel Structural Proteomics Center there.

Formal education and training

In 1965, Sussman got his B.A. at the Cornell University in math and physics. He got his PhD from MIT in biophysics in 1972 with Cyrus Levinthal. Sussman later did postdoctoral research in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1972, with Yehuda Lapidot, and in the Duke University in 1973 with Sung-Hou Kim.

Appointments and positions held

Sussman held the following positions at the Weizmann Institute of Science:

In 1994–99, he was also the director of the Protein Data Bank (PDB) at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Scientific interests and contributions

Sussman was a pioneer of macromolecular refinement, developing CORELS and applying it to yeast tRNAphe.[1] He subsequently determined the structures of 'bulge'-containing DNA fragments as models for insertion mutations.[2]

Sussman's current research focuses on nervous system proteins, especially acetylcholinesterase (AChE), whose 3D structure was first determined in his lab. This structure revealed:[3][4][5][6][7]

He has investigated the molecular basis for halophilicity[9] and halotolerance,[10] shedding light on the molecular basis of how proteins function over extreme ranges of salt concentration, with unexpected implications for kidney diseases. Recently, he determined the structures of acid-β-glucosidase,[11] a protein defective in Gaucher disease, paving the way to novel therapeutic approaches, and of paraoxonase,[12] a protein relevant to treatment of atherosclerosis.

Honors and awards


    • J.L Sussman & S.-H. Kim (1976) "Three-dimensional structure of a transfer RNA in two crystal forms" Science 192, 853-858 PMID 775636
    • J.L. Sussman, S.R. Holbrook, G.M. Church & S.-H. Kim (1977) "A structure-factor least squares refinement procedure for macromolecular structures using constrained and restrained parameters" Acta Crystallogr. A33, 800-804 Abstract
  1. L. Joshua-Tor, D. Rabinovich, H. Hope, F. Frolow, E. Appella & J.L. Sussman (1988) "The three-dimensional structure of a DNA duplex containing looped out bases" Nature 334, 82-84 PMID 3386751
  2. 1 2 3 J.L. Sussman, M. Harel, F. Frolow, C. Oefner, A. Goldman, L. Toker & I. Silman (1991) "Atomic structure of acetylcholinesterase from Torpedo californica: a prototypic acetylcholine-binding protein" Science 253, 872-879. PMID 1678899
  3. 1 2 D.R. Ripoll, C.H. Faerman, P. Axelsen, I. Silman & J.L. Sussman (1993) "An electrostatic mechanism for substrate guidance down the aromatic gorge of acetylcholinesterase" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90, 5128-5132 PMID 8506359
  4. 1 2 T. Zeev-Ben-Mordehai, E.H. Rydberg, A. Solomon, L. Toker, S. Botti, V.J. Auld, I. Silman & J.L. Sussman (2003) "The intracellular domain of the drosophila cholinesterase-like neural adhesion protein, gliotactin, is natively unfolded" Proteins 53, 758-767 PMID 14579366
  5. 1 2 H. Dvir, M. Harel, S. Bon, W.-Q. Liu, M. Vidal, C. Garbay, J.L. Sussman, J. Massoulié & I. Silman (2004) "The synaptic acetylcholinesterase tetramer assembles around a polyproline-II helix" EMBO J. 23, 4394-4405 doi:10.1038/sj.emboj.7600425 PMID 15526038
  6. 1 2 Weik, M., Ravelli, R.B.G., Kryger, G., McSweeney, S., Raves, M., Harel, M., Gros, P., Silman, I., Kroon, J. & Sussman, J.L. (2000) "Specific chemical and structural damage to proteins produced by synchrotron radiation" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97, 623-628. PMID 10639129
  7. Foldindex
  8. O. Dym, M. Mevarech & J.L. Sussman (1995) "Structural features that stabilize Halophilic malate dehydrogenase from an Archaebacterium" Science 267, 1344-1346 Abstract
  9. L. Premkumar, H.M. Greenblatt, U. Bagashwar, T. Savchenkoa, I. Gokhmana, J.L. Sussman & A. Zamir (2005) "3D structure of a halotolerant algal carbonic anhydrase predicts halotolerance of a mammalian homolog" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102, 7493-7498 PMID 15894606
  10. H. Dvir, M. Harel, A.H. McCarthy, L. Toker, I. Silman, A.H. Futerman & J.L. Sussman. X-ray structure of human acid-β-glucosidase, the defective enzyme in Gaucher disease (2003) EMBO Rep. 4, 704-709 PMID 12792654
  11. M. Harel, A. Aharoni, L. Gaidukov, B. Brumshtein, O. Khersonsky, S. Yagur, R. Meged, H. Dvir, R.B.G. Ravelli, A. McCarthy, L. Toker, I. Silman, J.L. Sussman & D.S. Tawfik (2004) "3D-Structure, mechanism and evolution of serum paraoxonases – a family of detoxifying and anti-atherosclerotic enzymes" Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 11, 412-419 PMID 15098021

External links

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