Mary Luckey

Mary Luckey

Professor Emerita
At SF State since 1965

Bio & Book

My Ph.D. research showed that the TonA protein (now called FhuA) was the receptor for ferrichrome, which was the first identification of an iron transport protein in the bacterial outer membrane. My postdoctoral work demonstrated the specificity of the purified LamB protein (maltoporin from E. coli) for uptake of maltose and maltodextrins in reconstituted liposomes. My research group continued to focus on maltoporin structure and biogenesis, demonstrating that its two cysteines make an intrasubunit disulfide bond (later confirmed by the x-ray structure) that contributes to the thermostability of the trimer. Our studies of the folding and assembly of the LamB trimer indicated the disulfide bond holds Loop 1 in the cavity and identified specific salt bridges involved in subunit interactions. For twenty-eight years I taught courses in biochemistry, membrane biochemistry and cancer at SF State. I am author of the book, Membrane Structural Biology published by Cambridge University Press, now in its second edition. I have three children and two grandchildren.

Book Cover for Membrane Structural Biology by Mary Luckey


Structure and assembly of LamB protein, the maltoporin in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli: folding studies of purified LamB protein and mutant proteins, the role of disulfide bond in protein stabilization, dissociation and reassociation of LamB trimer, role of cell envelope chaperones in the folding and assembly of outer membrane proteins in E. coli.

Key Publications

  • Membrane Structural Biology with Biochemical and Biophysical Foundations, Cambridge University Press, 2nd Ed, Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  • Iron uptake in Salmonella typhimurium: Utilization of exogenous siderochromes as iron carriers. 1972. M. Luckey, J. Pollack, R. Wayne, B. N. Ames and J. B. Neilands, Journal of Bacteriology 111, 731-738.
  • In vitro competition between ferrichrome and phage for the outer membrane T5 receptor complex of Escherichia coli.  1975.  M. Luckey, R. Wayne and J. B. Neilands, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 64, 687-693.
  • Specificity of diffusion channels produced by the lambda receptor protein of Escherichia coli. 1980.  M. Luckey and H. Nikaido, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 77, 167-171.
  • Diffusion of solutes through channels produced by phage lambda receptor protein of Escherichia coli:  Inhibition by higher oligosaccharides of maltose series.  1980.  M. Luckey and H. Nikaido, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 93, 166-171.
  • Non-specific and specific diffusion channels in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli.  1980.  H. Nikaido, M. Luckey and E. Y. Rosenberg, J. of Supramol. Str. 13, 305-313.
  • Role of a disulfide bond in the thermal stability of the LamB protein trimer in Escherichia coli outer membrane.  1991.  M. Luckey, R. Ling, A. Dose and B. Malloy, J. Biol. Chem. 266, 1866-1871.
  • Structural and Functional Characterization of OmpF Porin Mutants Selected for Larger Pore Size, II. Functional Characterization.  1996.  N. Saint, K.L. Lou, C. Widmer, M. Luckey, T. Schirmer and J.P. Rosenbusch. J. Biological Chemistry, 271, 20676-20680.
  • Folding studies of purified LamB protein, the maltoporin from the Escherichia coli outer membrane: Trimer dissociation can be separated from unfolding.  2011.  V. Baldwin, M. Bhatia and M. Luckey.   Biochim. Biophys. Acta (Biomembranes), 1808(9), 2206-2213.

Grants and Awards

  • Woodrow Wilson Fellow (1970)
  • Mortar Board (1970)
  • NIH Traineeship (1970 - 1975)
  • AAAS. Mass Media Internship (1975)
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship (1978)
  • American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship (1978 - 1980)
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, Health and Medical Sciences, University of California, Berkeley (1982)
  • NIH New Investigator Research Award (1983 - 1986)
  • NSF Instrumentation Award (1983)
  • NIH Research Career Development Award (1987 - 1992)
  • NIH AREA Award (1993 - 1996)
  • NIH AREA Award (1996 - 1999)
  • Co-investigator on numerous instrumentation awards.
Maltoporin illustration