Faculty Advisor

José Argüello

Faculty Advisor

James Pavlik

Abstract

Protein folding and stability are essential for protein function. Changes in these characteristics can lead to altered physiological states and to the development of certain pathologies. While extensive research has focused on the stability of soluble proteins, membrane protein stability has received much less attention. Understanding the stability of membrane proteins can provide insight into folding mechanisms and the etiology of various pathologies. The purpose of this project is to prepare molecular tools to perform comparative studies of homologous membrane proteins that are found in various environments. To this end, thermophilic (Pyrococcus abyssi), mesophilic (Escherichia coli), and psychrophilic (Exiguobacterium 255-15) transmembrane Zn2+ transporting ATPases were cloned, expressed, and functionally characterized to correlate thermostability with optimal functional temperatures. In addition, the lipid environments and composition (rigid or fluid lipids) may also be involved in determining the stability of membrane proteins. Toward exploring the role of extremophilic lipids, Archaeoglobus fulgidus and Thermotoga maritima were grown and lipids were extracted. Availability of these molecular tools will enable physical-chemical studies toward understanding the structural factors that determine functional stability.

Publisher

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name

MS

Department

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Project Type

Thesis

Date Accepted

2006-05-04

Accessibility

Unrestricted

Subjects

Heavy metals, ATPase, Membranes, Lipids, Zn-transporter

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