Progress Towards a Library of Potential Fungicides
Zach Bennett is an incoming junior at Valparaiso University, majoring in biochemistry. During the last year he realized that organic chemistry was one of his favorite topics in chemistry. This led him to join the research project in spring 2018, being funded by a grant from Eli Lilly for the summer.
Anna Bockman is an incoming sophomore at Valparaiso University, majoring in chemistry with a minor in business. This is her first summer of research, while being a part of and funded by the Establishing Practice for Integrating Commuters (EPIC) scholarship.
Methionine Synthase (MetSyn) is an enzyme that creates the amino acid methionine, which is essential for all organisms. There are key differences between fungal MetSyn enzyme and the mammalian form. Taking advantage of these differences, an anti fungal drug could be developed to exclusively inhibit fungal growth while leaving the host (patient) unaffected. We are currently exploring the synthesis of various pterin and deazaguanine based molecules as these mimic folate, an essential substrate for MetSyn function. We have also begun testing these new molecules for activity via a fungal growth assay, as well as a fluorescent assay for monitoring MetSyn activity.