Arts and Sciences
Taylor Gaskill 0000-0003-2060-5237; Esteban Kurth 0000-0001-6772-6269; Thomas Goyne 0000-0002-7189-0704
The long-term goal of this project is to more efficiently synthesize an unnatural fluorescent amino acid, 3-[7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazol-4-yl]-L-alanine, diazole for short. This fluorescent amino acid can be incorporated into a transparent protein, thus creating a “glow-in-the-dark” protein. Two parallel pathways are being explored to synthesize this diazole amino acid: traditional organic synthesis and biocatalysis. 1H-NMR and LC-MS are being used to analyze the organic route by monitoring the reaction kinetics of the key coupling reaction. The goal of these kinetics experiments is to identify optimal reaction conditions (solvent, temperature, etc.). For the biocatalytic route, the enzyme glutathione S-transferase from the cyanobacterium T. elongatus is being used to catalyze the key coupling reaction. Enzyme kinetics are monitored using LC-MS.
Gaskill, Taylor A. and Kurth, Esteban B., "Improving the Synthesis of an Unnatural Fluorescent Amino Acid" (2021). Summer Interdisciplinary Research Symposium. 114.