John P. Richardson


American Association for the Advancement of Science (1987)
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Indiana University Bloomington
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Chemistry


John P. Richardson is Professor Emeritus in Chemistry at IU Bloomington. His primary research interest is biological chemistry. His earned his AB from Amherst College (1960), and PhD from Harvard University (1966).

Among his honors and significant positions held are: NIH Career Development Award, 1972-77, Member, American Society of Biological Chemists, 1975, Pathobiological Chemistry Study Section, 1975-78, Genetic Basis of Disease Review Committee, 1981-85, Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1987, NIH Merit Award, 1987-97, Editor, Gene, 1983-95, Editorial Board, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1989-93.

The Richardson laboratory focuses on the mechanism of transcription of RNA from DNA templates and on the regulation of RNA metabolism in bacteria and higher organisms.

A major aim is to determine what controls the rate of RNA chain growth and how RNA synthesis is stopped at the ends of genes and of gene groups (operons) in bacteria. It is known that termination at the ends of many genes or operons requires the action of a protein factor known as Rho. Our work has shown that Rho has to interact with the nascent RNA transcript and that it uses energy from the hydrolysis of ATP to break up the transcription complex of nascent RNA, RNA polymerase, and DNA.

We are currently interested in characterizing the structure of Rho protein, finding out what sequences or structures on RNA molecules are recognized by Rho factor, and establishing how the energy of ATP hydrolysis affects the interactions between Rho and the various parts of the transcription complex. We are also investigating how NusA and NusG proteins, two transcriptional elongation factors, interact with RNA polymerase and the nascent RNA.