Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair(s)

Joanie M. Hevel


Joanie M. Hevel


Sean Johnson


Nicholas E. Dickenson


For many enzymes to function correctly they must have the freedom to display a level of dynamics or communication during their catalytic cycle. The effects that protein dynamics and communication can have are wide ranging, from changes in substrate specificity or product profiles, to speed of reaction or switching activity on or off. This project investigates the protein dynamics and communication in two separate systems, a non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS), and a protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT).

PRMT1, the enzyme responsible for 80% of arginine methylation in humans, has been implicated in a variety of disease states when functioning incorrectly. For this reason, much focus has been placed on better understanding how PRMT1 determines which products it creates and at what times. This project aims to shed light on how dynamics and communication within PRMT1 dictate its activity. We have to this point developed a protocol for creating and purifying a linked PRMT1 construct which will enable us to conduct the necessary experiments capable of answering our larger questions about the PRMT1 catalytic mechanism.

Our collaborators in the Zhan lab discovered the presence of a methyltransferase (Mt) in the two NRPS systems they study, which produce two different and medically relevant compounds, bassianolide and beauvericin. The Hevel lab is well suited to study methyltransferases and so were asked to help evaluate the role of these Mt domains and how they affect the production of the relevant natural products. Achieving a more complete understanding of these systems will move us closer toward the “holy grail” of being able to manipulate and harness NRPS systems for the engineering of novel medically relevant compounds. This project has found that the Mt domain substrate specificity is affected by the surrounding protein domains, or even small portions of them.



Available for download on Thursday, August 01, 2024

Included in

Biochemistry Commons