Activating Biological Functions in Proteins using Gas Sensing Molecules
Arts and Sciences
Heme proteins are a class of biological molecules that serve important roles throughout all forms of life. The protein studied in this research, CooA, is found in several bacteria such as Rhodospirillum rubrum (Rr) and Carboxydothermus hydrogenoformans (Ch). In nature, all forms of CooA sense a specific gas molecule, carbon monoxide, that allows the heme protein to bind DNA which activates the transcription process. Interestingly however, in the lab nitric oxide has also been found to activate DNA binding in Ch CooA, but it does not activate Rr CooA. It is hypothesized that a specific intermolecular interaction between amino acids within the heme environment is responsible for the different behavior of Ch CooA and Rr CooA. To test this hypothesis, the key amino acids that are proposed to be responsible for this interaction were mutated in both CooA proteins. Next, these variant CooA proteins will be reacted with carbon monoxide and nitric oxide, and the subsequent effects on DNA binding will be measured.
Lyza, Jessica and DeVries, Rachael, "Activating Biological Functions in Proteins using Gas Sensing Molecules" (2014). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 395.