The role of glutathione peroxidase in mediating the antioxidant properties of proline in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

by Grant Turner
Biochemistry
Faculty advisor: Dr. Brian Lenzmeier

Through the process of creating energy for the body, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are created. In order for cells to survive, they must be able to process these ROS.  It has been hypothesized that high levels of the amino acid proline helps protect cells from ROS. The exact mechanism for proline’s putative antioxidant properties is currently not known. We hypothesize that proline may work through glutathione peroxidase (GPx), an enzyme capable of processing ROS.  Using baker’s yeast as a model research organism we are exposing cells to high levels of proline and monitoring its effect on the activity of GPx in cell-free extracts isolated from those cells. My initial studies have been done using wild type yeast and yeast cells with a mutation in the RAD53 gene, an essential checkpoint protein used by cells to ensure there is no DNA damage prior to cell division. I will present my research findings and will outline future studies that will include research with other mutated forms of yeast to identify the exact cellular processes that mediate the antioxidant properties of proline.