Investigating an uncharacterized protein (3UN6) in Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 8325

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Charles Wise (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
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Abstract: Pathogenic bacteria wreak havoc on life across the world and use virulent proteins which give them these destructive capabilities. Research groups investigate these proteins and try to understand how they operate. This research project investigated an uncharacterized protein in Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 8325 (PDB: 3UN6). Staphylococcus aureus is known to cause staph infections and has the capability to become drug resistant. Researching how Staphylococcus aureus survives and infects lets researchers work towards building treatments that circumvent current drug resistance. To identify a possible protein function three assessments were implemented and required bioinformatic programs and databases (BLASTp, InterPro, UniProt, PredictProtein, etc). First, 3UN6’s amino acid sequence was sent to programs similar to InterPro to compile possible domain, motif, and residue features. Second, 3UN6’s sequence was aligned with similar predicted proteins to determine important features shared between them. Lastly, the tertiary structure of 3UN6 was used in programs such as ConSurf to look at structural features, and how similar 3UN6’s structure is to other proteins to identify conserved function. We hypothesize that 3UN6 is the solute binding protein of an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter, it attaches to the cell within the periplasmic space as a lipoprotein, and helps transport a trigonal planar molecule like nitrate, bicarbonate, and sulfonate into the cell. These molecules are important at many levels of survival within the cell. Nitrate for example is important for denitrification which can occur in Staphylococcus aureus when cellular respiration continues without oxygen and instead is replaced by nitrate as an electron acceptor. If an inhibitory target could be made for 3UN6 then Staphylococcus aureus’s tolerance might decline which would make it difficult for it to survive inside a host organism. We are continuing our investigation and exploring new avenues to build upon our hypothesis, narrow down the transported molecule, and publish our findings.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
Staphylococcus aureus, undergraduate research, NCUR, Summer Undergraduate Research Program, SURP

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