Photograph of Dr David Whitworth.Dr David Whitworth

Senior Lecturer


Office: Room S22, Cledwyn Building, Penglais
Phone: +44 (0) 1970 621828


Teaching Areas

Semester 1:

BR12410 Study and Communication Skills
BR23210 Proteins and Enzymes
BR32110 Data-handling in biochemistry
BR32300 Dissertation

Semester 2:

BR12010 Metabolism
BR12210 Molecular Lab Skills
BR22920 Practical Skills in Biochemistry
BR24510 Biochemistry in Practice
BR32330 Dissertation


Signalling pathways in the social predator Myxococcus xanthus: the dynamics and specificity of protein-protein interactions.

  • Nutrient acquisition - (regulation of phosphate metabolism)
  • Responses to stress - (regulation of carotenoid synthesis, multicellular development)
  • Protein-protein interactions - (signalling pathway connectivity - experimental and computational)
  • Dynamic systems - (network properties, evolution and population behaviour/dynamics)
  • Bioinformatics - (comparative genomics, evolution of signalling networks)
  • Structural bioinformatics - (structure prediction, interaction modelling)  

My research focuses on bacterial signalling pathways and how they alter behaviour in response to a changing environment. In particular, I am interested in the social and predatory myxobacteria, and how they use two-component signalling pathways to co-ordinate group behaviour. Experimental work is investigating the protein-protein interactions between TCS transmitter and receiver domains, which define the structure of TCS pathways. As an extension of this work, we are also characterising the regulation of phosphate assimilation and its inter-relation with multicellular fruiting body formation, a regulon that involves at least seven TCS proteins. Benchwork is being complemented by theoretical studies. One such study uses comparative genomics to probe the evolution of TCSs, and has provided a method for predicting transmitter-receiver domain partnerships, many of which are being confirmed experimentally.

Staff Publications

  • Mela, S. and Whitworth, D.E. (2014) The fist bump: a more hygienic alternative to the handshake. American Journal of Infection Control. 916-917. 42: 916-917. 'Fist bump beats unhygienic handshake' - Aberystwyth University Press Release July 2014.
  • Whitworth, D.E. and Wright, K. (2014) Online assessment of learning and engagement in university laboratory practicals. British Journal of Educational Technology. In Press.
  • Barakat, M., Ortet, P. and Whitworth, D.E. (2013) P2RP: an automated system for the identification and annotation of regulatory proteins in prokaryotic genomes. BMC Genomics 2013. 14: 269.
  • Ortet, P., De Luca, G., Whitworth, D.E. and Barakat, M. (2012) P2TF: a comprehensive resource for analysis of prokaryotic transcription factors. BMC Genomics 2012. 13: 628.
  • Evans, A.G.L., Davey, H. M., Cookson, A., Currinn, H., Cooke-Fox, G., Stanczyk, P. and Whitworth, D.E. (2012) Predatory activity of Myxococcus xanthus outer membrane vesicles and properties of their hydrolase cargo. Microbiology 158: 2742-2752.
  • Whitworth, D.E. (2012) Classification and organisation of two-component systems. In: Two-component systems (Gross, R. and Beier, D., eds.), Horizon Scientific Press, Norwich, UK. pp 1-20.
  • Whitworth, D.E. (2012) Two-component regulatory systems in prokaryotes. In: Bacterial regulatory networks (Filloux, A., ed.), Horizon Scientific Press, Norwich, UK. pp191-222.
  • Whitworth, D.E. (2011) Myxobacterial vesicles: death at a distance? Advances in Applied Microbiology. 75: 1-31.
  • Barakat, M., Ortet, P., and Whitworth, D.E. (2011) P2CS: a database of prokaryotic two-component systems. Nucleic Acids Research. 39 (Database issue): D771-776.
  • Williams, R.H.N. and Whitworth, D.E. (2010) The genetic organisation of prokaryotic two-component system signalling pathways. BMC Genomics 2010. 11: 720.
  • Evans, A.R. and Whitworth, D.E. (2010) Correlations between role, sequence conservation, genomic location and severity of phenotype in myxobacterial developmental genes. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 312: 40-45.
  • Holmes, A.B., Kalvala, S. and Whitworth, D.E. (2010) Spatial simulations of myxobacterial development. PLoS Computational Biology. 6: e1000686.