John Rebers

Professor (Retired)

Contact Information:


  • Ph.D. Harvard University, 1984
  • B.S. Iowa State University, 1977

Research Interests:

The insect exoskeleton, or cuticle, is a composite material composed of fibers of the polysaccharide chitin embedded in a matrix of cuticular proteins. Many insect cuticular proteins include 35-36 amino acids forming a motif known as the R&R consensus. This motif is important for allowing proteins in the cuticle to bind chitin. My laboratory is examining how changing specific amino acids in the R&R consensus alters chitin-cuticular protein interactions, and is also trying to determine the optimal techniques for purifying the proteins and carrying out in vitro binding studies.


Undergraduate Courses:

  • Cell Biology (BI 406) – Lecture and laboratory sections
  • Biochemistry of Development (BI 413) – Lecture and discussion section
  • Molecular Biology (BI 418) – Lecture and laboratory sections
  • Biology of Cancer (BI 419) – Lecture and discussion section
  • Biochemical Techniques (CH 454) – Intensive laboratory course; team-taught

Graduate Courses:

  • Current and Classical Techniques in Molecular Biology (BI 518) – seminar
  • Bioinformatics (BI 519)

Selected Publications:

  • Rebers, J. E., and Riddiford, L. M. (1988). Structure and expression of a Manduca sexta larval cuticle gene homologous to Drosophila cuticle genes. J. Mol. Biol. 203, 411-423.
  • Rebers, J. E., Niu, J., and Riddiford, L. M. (1997). Structure and spatial expression of the Manduca sexta MSCP14.6 cuticle gene. Insect Biochem. and Mol. Biol. 27, 229-240.
  • Rebers, J. E. (1999). Overlapping antiparallel transcripts induced by ecdysone in a Drosophila cell line. Insect Biochem. and Mol. Biol. 29, 293-302.
  • Rebers, J. E., and Willis, J. H. (2001). A conserved domain in arthropod cuticular proteins binds chitin. Insect Biochem. and Mol. Biol. 31, 1083-1093.
John Rebers standing with his peas