Thomas C. Bruice

Thomas C. Bruice
Professor Emeritus


Bioorganic Chemistry


Dr. Bruice (Ph.D., 1954) sadly passed away February 15, 2019. He served on the faculties of Yale, Johns Hopkins and Cornell prior to coming to UCSB in 1964. He had been a Guggenheim Fellow and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He received the major awards of the American Chemical Society in the sub-disciplines of Bioorganic and Bioinorganic chemistries, physical organic chemistry and biochemistry.


Research Group Website:

Current Research 

Our present research interests are in two areas: (i) nucleoside material chemistry (synthesis, characterization of interactions); and (ii) computational chemistry related to the mechanisms of enzyme catalysis (utilizing the programs AMBER, CHARMM, GAUSSIAN ETC.) Ongoing nucleoside problems involve the design, synthesis and study of compounds that may be used as antisence/antigene agents as well as research tools in the study of DNA-protein interactions. These materials consist of oligomers that are similar to DNA and are intended to bind to specific sites of the DNA or RNA in the target cell (examples DNG, RNG and DNmt) or agents that can bind into both the minor and major grooves of DNA (microgonotropens) to block the formation protein-DNA complexes (DNA-transcription factor).

Our computational chemistry work is based on known high resolution x-ray coordinates of enzyme and enzyme complexes. These are studied by molecular dynamic simulations and quantum chemical calculations. We determine the structures of ground state reactive enzyme·conformers and enzyme·transition states and the energies separating these species. Examples of questions we ask are: is Pauling’s precept correct that enzymes owe their catalytic prowess to the tighter binding of the transition state as compared to ground state & the means by which enzymes fashion ground state conformations.


Selected Research Publications

Luo, J, Author Luo Jia Luo, Jia , Bruice, TC, et al. Low-frequency normal modes in horse liver alcohol dehydrogenase and motions of residues involved in the enzymatic reaction BIOPHYS CHEM 126 (1-3): 80-85 MAR 2007.

Toporowski, J.W., Reddy S. Y.; Bruice T.C., an investigation of ionic any solvation patterns of dsgn versus dsdna by use of molecular dynamics simulations, Biophys. Chem. 2007. 126, 1332-139

Zhang, Xiaphua; Bruice T.C., Temparature-dependant structure of the E S Complex of bacillus stearothermophilus alcohol dehydrogenase, Biochemistry, 2007. 46, 837-843

Zhang, Xiaphua; Bruice T.C., Catalytic mechanism and product specifisionsy of Rubisco large subunit methyltransferase: QM/MM and MD investigation, Biochemistry, 2007. 46, 5505-5514

Zhang, Xiaphua; Rreddy, S. Y., Bruice T.C., The mechanism of methanol oxidation by quinoprotein methanol dehydrogenasequantum mechanics/molecular mechanics and molecular dynamic investigations. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 2007. 104, 745-749

Zhang, Xiaphua; Bruice T.C., A QM/MM study on the catalytic mechanism and product specificity of viral isotome lysine methyltransferase, Biochemistry, 2007. 46, 9743-9751

Zhang, Xiaphua; Bruice T.C., Histone lysine methyl transferaseset 7/9: Formatiom of a waterchannel precedes each methyl transfer, Biochemistry, 2007. 46, 14838-148444

Zhang, Xiaphua; Bruice T.C., The mechanism of product specificity of adoment methylation catalyzed by Lysine Methyl transferases: Transcriptional factor p53 methylation by Histone Lysine Methyl transferase SET7/9, Biochemistry, 2008. 47, 2743-2748

Zhang, Xiaphua; Bruice T.C., Comlexation of single strand telomere and telomwease RNA template polyanions by deoxyribonucleic guanidine (DNG) polycations: Plausible anticancer agents, Bioorg. & Med. Chem letters, 2008 18, 665-669

Park M., Canzio, D., Bruice T.C.,Incorporation of positively charged Ribonucleic Guanidine linkage untomoligodeoxy tibonuclotides: Development of potent antisense agents, Bioorg & Med. Chem Letters, 2008. 18, 2377-2384

Zhang, Xiaphua; Bruice T.C., Enzymatic Mechanism and product specificity of SET-domain protein Lysine methyltransferasees, Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA), 2008. 105, 5728-5732

Zhang, Xiaphua; Bruice T.C., Product specificity and mechanism i-of peotein lysine methyltranserase: Insights from the Histone Methyltransferase SET8, Biochemistry, 2008. 47, 6671-6677

Park M., Bruice T.C., Biding properties of positively charged deoxynucleic guanidine (DNG). Agtgagtg abd DNG/DNA chimeras to CAN. Bioorg. & Med. Chem. Letter 2008. 18, 3488-3491.attial

Luo J., Bruice T.C., Envisioning the Loop Movements and Rotation of the Two subdomains of Dihydrofolate Reductase by Elastic Normal Mode Analysis. J. Biomolecular Structure & Dynamics, 27.2.2009

Park M., Bruice T.C., Development of Potential Anticancer Agents that Target Telomere Sequence. Bioorg. & Med. Chem. Letter 2010. 20, 3982-3986