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Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Faculty

Dr. Madeline Rasche
Professor Biochemistry

Office: MH-504A
Phone: (657) 278-3885
Lab: DBH-178
Phone: (657) 278-2448



Dr. Madeline Rasche


Chem 421 Biological Chemistry
Chem 423A/B General Biochemistry
Chem 472B Advances in Biotechnology Laboratory
Chem 542 Nucleic Acid Metabolism


Ph.D. Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside, CA
B.S. Biology (Magna cum laude), Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

Research Interests

Methane production by microorganisms has a powerful impact on the environment because methane (CH4) is both an energy source and a greenhouse gas. Many of the microbial enzymes involved in methane production require a specialized coenzyme called tetrahydromethanopterin (H4MPT). Our laboratory uses a combination of biochemistry, molecular biology, genomics, and biophysical approaches to identify and characterize genes and enzymes required for the biosynthesis of H4MPT. By understanding how one of these enzymes works, it has been possible to develop inhibitors of methane production that may help to decrease the production of methane as a greenhouse gas from biological sources such as microorganisms in the rumen (first stomach) of domestic cattle.

Rasche Group Activities

January 2012

Graduate students Alex (Sixi) Wang and Erick Morales represented the Rasche laboratory at the 24th Annual CSUPERB Meeting held January 5–7 in Santa Clara, CA. Alex Wang presented part of his Masters thesis research in a poster entitled "Electron Transfer Reactions in an Iron–Sulfur Flavoprotein Linked to Tetrahydromethanopterin Biosynthesis in the Methane–Producing Microorganism Methanosarcina mazei." His work describes the discovery of the physiological function of a new enzyme required for the microbial production of methane, which is both a renewable energy source and a greenhouse gas.

Erick Morales was awarded the Crellin Pauling Student Teaching Award, which recognizes an outstanding CSU student teaching in a biotechnology–related program. The award is named after Professor Crellin Pauling (San Francisco State University) for his contributions to the training of teachers and scientists and his commitment to the creation of a scientifically literate electorate. As part of the CSU state-wide competition, Erick submitted an essay entitled, "Our Civic Duty as Scientists".

Graduate students Alex Wang and Erick Morales at CSUPERB 2012

March 2011

Payam Farahani, a current graduate student, presented a poster at the 241st ACS National Meeting: "Production and characterization of three ribofuranosylaminobenzene 5'-phophate (RFAP) synthase mutants of Metahnothermobacter thermoautrophicus: Structure-function into a key enzyme of the terahydromethanopterin biosynthesis pathway"

Graduate student Payam Frahani at ACS National Meeting

November 2010

Joane Tiongson, a 2010 Summer research intern presented her poster entitled " Site-Directed Mutagenesis of a Cysteine Motif Proposed to Ligate a 4Fe-4S Cluster in a Putative Dihydromethanopterin Reductase Flavoprotein of Methanosarcina mazei" at the Southern California American Society of Microbiology Branch meeting. She received an Outstanding Undergraduate poster award which will allow for a travel grant to support her poster presentation at the general national meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, which will be held this May in New Orleans.

Recent Publications

Bobik, T.A., Morales, E.J., Shin, A., Cascio, D., Sawaya, M.R., Arbing, M., Yeates, T.O. & Rasche, M.E. 2014. Structure of the methanofuran/methanopterin biosynthetic enzyme MJ1099 from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii. Acta Cryst. F70: 1472-1479.

McNamara, D.E., Cascio, D., Jorda, J., Bustos, C., Wang, T., Rasche, M.E., Yeates, T.O, and *Bobik, T.A. 2014. Structure of dihydromethanopterin reductase: a cubic Protein cage for redox transfer. J. Biol. Chem. 289:8852-8864.

Wang, S., Tiongson, J., and Rasche M.E. 2014. Discovery and characterization of the first archaeal dihydromethanopterin reductase (DmrX), an iron-sulfur flavoprotein from Methanosarcina mazei. J. Bacteriol. 196:204-209.

Testani, J., Dabelic, R. and Rasche, M. E. *.  2006. Chemical reduction of pterins to dihydropterins.  Analytical Biochem. 358:20-24.

Rasche, M. E., and J. G. Ferry. 2005. Molecular Biology of Methanogens and Archaebacteria, p. 237-261. In R. A. Meyers (ed.), Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, 2nd ed, vol. 8. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co., Weinheim. (Review)

Chistoserdova, L.*, Rasche, M.E., and Lidstrom, M.E.  2005.  Novel tetrahydromethanopterin biosynthesis genes discovered via mutagenesis in Methylobacterium extorquens AM1. J. Bacteriol. 187: 2508-2512.

Hamilton, R., Casasús, A., Rasche, M.E., Narang, A, Svoronos, S. A.*, and Koopman, B*. 2005.  A structured model for denitrifier diauxic growth.  Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 90(4):501–508.

Caccamo, M. A., Malone, C. S., and Rasche, M. E.*  2004.  Biochemical characterization of dihydromethanopterin reductase, a tetrahydromethanopterin biosynthesis enzyme in Methylobacterium extorquens AM1. J. Bacteriol. 186:2068-2073.

Rasche, M. E.*, Wyles, S. A., and Rosenzvaig, M.  2004.  Characterization of two methanopterin biosynthesis mutants of Methylobacterium extorquens by use of a tetrahydromethanopterin bioassay.  J. Bacteriol. 186:1565-1570.

Bobik, T.A., Rasche, M.E.*  2004. Purification and partial characterization of the Pyrococcus horikoshii methylmalonyl-CoA epimerase.  Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 63:682-685.

Rasche, M. E.*  2004.  Outcomes of a research-driven laboratory and literature course designed to enhance undergraduate contributions to original research.  Biochem. and Molecular Biology Educ. 32:101-107.

Kima, P.E.*, Rasche, M.E.  2004.  Sex determination using the polymerase chain reaction.  Biochem. and Molecular Biology Educ. 32:115-119.

Dumitru, R., Palencia., H., Schroeder, S. D., DeMontigny, B., Takacs, J., Rasche, M. E., Miner, J. L., and Ragsdale, S. W.*  2003.  Targeting methanopterin biosynthesis to inhibit methanogenesis.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 69:7236-7241.