Investigation of the Biophysical Origin of Proteolytic Resistance

Jacqueline Gilmore : Molecular and Cell Biology

Mentor: Susan Marqusee, Molecular and Cell Biology

Proteases are a class of enzymes that cleave other proteins. Interestingly, the susceptibility of proteins to proteases differs, with some proteins being more resistant to proteolysis than others. The mechanism for this resistance is unclear. By studying model proteins that resist cleavage by the protease trypsin, Jacqueline hopes to determine the biophysical basis of proteolytic resistance. For her senior thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology, Jacqueline will study the structural properties of three resistant proteins from E. coli: potD, argT, and glnH. By utilizing recombinant DNA technology, protein purification methods, and circular dichroism to obtain information about the thermodynamic stability and unfolding kinetics of these proteins, Jacqueline hopes to uncover the mechanism of proteolytic resistance. An understanding of this mechanism has many potential applications in protein engineering, structural biology, and immunology. For instance, rigid proteins that have a longer lifetime and are therefore more effective as drugs can be designed.