James F. Curran

James Curran in Laboratory

James Curran, Professor of Biology at Wake Forest University (photo credit: Ken Bennett)

B.A., University of Delaware
M.A., Ph.D., Rice University
Postdoctoral Research, University of Colorado at Boulder

108 Winston Hall
(336) 758-5956
FAX: (336) 758-6008

Areas of Interest

Molecular Mechanisms of Protein Synthesis and Microbial Ecology


Students and I have performed a great deal of work on the molecular mechanism of protein synthesis.  In addition, our lab is beginning to study microbial ecology through “metagenomics,” the analysis of environmental DNA. Our analytical approaches are becoming increasing bioinformatic, and I look forward to working with students who are interested in learning computational methodologies.

Courses Taught

I primarily teach Microbiology, but I have taught Microbial Ecology, Genetics, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Microbial Pathogenesis.

Selected Publications

Lim, V.I., Curran, J.F. and Garber, M. 2012.  Hydration shells of molecules in molecular association: a mechanism for biomolecular recognition. Journal of Theoretical Biology 301, 42-48. [link]

Sanders, C.L., Lohr, K.J., Gambill, H.L, Curran, R.B. and Curran, J.F. 2008. Anticodon loop mutations perturb reading frame maintenance by the E site tRNA. RNA 14, 1874-1881. [link]

Sanders, C.L. and Curran, J.F. 2007. Genetic analysis of the E site during RF2 programmed frameshifting. RNA 13, 1483-1491. [link]

Lim, V.I., Curran, J.F. and Garber, M. 2005. Ribosomal elongation cycle: Energetic, Kinetic and Stereochemical aspects, Journal of Molecular Biology 351: 470-480. [link]

Lim, V.I. and Curran, J.F. 2001. Analysis of Codon:Anticodon Interactions within the Ribosome Provides New Insights into Codon Reading and the Genetic Code Structure. RNA 7: 942-957. [link]

Wu, L., and Curran, J.F. 1999. An allosteric synthetic DNA. Nucleic Acids Research 27: 1512-1516. [link]

Tsai, F., and Curran, J.F. 1998. tRNA2Gln mutants that translate the CGA arginine codon as glutamine in Escherichia coli. RNA 4: 1514-1522. [link]

Curran, J.F. 1998. Modified Nucleosides in Translation, chapter 27 in Modification and Editing of RNA: The Alteration of RNA Structure and Function, H. Grosjean, and R. Benne, eds. American Society for Microbiology Press, pp. 493-516.

Qian, Q., Curran, J.F., and Bjork, G.R. 1998. The N6-methyl group of the modified nucleoside N6-methyl-N6-threonylcarbamoyladenosine (m6t6A) in transfer RNA of Escherichia coli improves translational efficiency, Journal of Bacteriology 180: 1808-1813. [link]

Li, J.-n., Esberg, B, Curran, J.F., and Bjork, G.R. 1997. Three modified nucleosides present in the anticodon stem and loop influence the in vivo aa-tRNA selection in a tRNA-dependent manner. Journal of Molecular Biology 271: 209-221. [link]

Schwartz, R. and Curran, J.F. 1997. Analyses of frameshifting at UUU-pyrimidine sites, Nucleic Acids Research 25, 2005-2011. [link]

Curran, J.F. 1995. Decoding with the A:I base pair is inefficient. Nucleic Acids Research 23, 683-688. [link]

Curran, J.F. 1993. Analysis of effects of tRNA:message stability on frameshift frequency at the Escherichia coli RF2 programmed frameshift site. Nucleic Acids Research 21, 1837-1843. [link]

Curran, J.F. and Yarus, M. 1987. Reading frame selection and tRNA anticodon loop stacking. Science 238, 1545-1550. [link]

Op-Ed Articles

On the pandemic flu vaccine (December 10, 2005) [link]
On the human papilloma virus vaccine (the cervical cancer vaccine) (April 10, 2006) [link]
On making HPV vaccination mandatory in North Carolina (March 20, 2007) [link]
On the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. (May 8, 2008) [link]