FURI | Spring 2023

Cross-Linking Proteins with Unnatural Amino Acids

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E. coli cells are great for creating proteins as they are stable and reproduce rapidly. Putting plasmids into E. coli cells and causing certain parameters to happen within the cell will allow the E. coli to produce proteins that involve putting in a stop codon in place of another amino acid. Looking at the proteins produced by the mutated E. coli cells will show that they fold in a three-dimensional pattern naturally as certain amino acids will be more likely to chemically bond which in turn will “fold” the protein into a desired shape. This folding is possible by cross-linking amino pair sets that are chemically attracted to each other. In the end, this research will help develop more abilities for medicine, biotechnology, and bioengineering by using these functional three-dimensional structures.

Student researcher

Zach T. Regan

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Mukilteo, Washington, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2024