Michael D Toney, PhD


Position Title

2469 Chemistry Annex
One Shields Avenue, Davis CA 95616

We are interested in the mechanisms used by enzymes to catalyze reactions, and how they can be used as practical catalysts. Current projects are focussed on enzymes that require vitamin B6 for activity.  In our research we address questions such as the following. How do enzymes provide for reaction rate enhancements of 20 orders of magnitude or more? How do structurally and mechanistically similar enzymes control reaction specificity? What role does stereoelectronic effects play in controlling reaction specificity? How are the motions of enyzmes coupled to catalysis? How does light enhance the activity of vitamin B6 dependent enzymes? How much do enzymes lower the acidity of substrate carbon acids in reactions that involve deprotonation?

We use both experimental and computational methods to address these questions.

We have an active research group involving undergraduate students. To apply to join the group, send an introductory letter and an unofficial copy of your transcript by email to mdtoney@ucdavis.edu.

Education and Degree(s)
  • PhD, UC Berkeley (1990)
  • BS, University of Alabama (1985)
  • Peng Z, Peralta MDR, Cox DL, Toney MD. Bottom-up synthesis of protein-based nanomaterials from engineered β-solenoid proteins. PLoS One. 2020 Feb 21;15(2):e0229319. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229319.
  • Valenzuela-Chavira I, Corona-Martinez DO, Garcia-Orozco KD, Beltran-Torres M, Sanchez-Lopez F, Arvizu-Flores AA, Sugich-Miranda R, Lopez-Zavala AA, Robles-Zepeda RE, Islas-Osuna MA, Ochoa-Leyva A, Toney MD, Serrano-Posada H, Sotelo-Mundo RR. A Novel Glutathione S-Transferase Gtt2 Class (VpGSTT2) Is Found in the Genome of the AHPND/EMS Vibrio parahaemoly
  • Wang Y, Chung DH, Monteleone LR, Li J, Chiang Y, Toney MD, Beal PA. RNA binding candidates for human ADAR3 from substrates of a gain of function mutant expressed in neuronal cells. Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Nov 18;47(20):10801-10814. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz815. PMID: 31552420; PMCID: PMC6846710.
  • Toney MD. Carbon Acidity in Enzyme Active Sites. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2019 Feb 19;7:25. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2019.00025.
  • Chung DH, Potter SC, Tanomrat AC, Ravikumar KM, Toney MD. Site-directed mutant libraries for isolating minimal mutations yielding functional changes. Protein Eng Des Sel. 2017 May 1;30(5):347-357. doi: 10.1093/protein/gzx013.