Office of Undergraduate Research

Time-resolved spectroscopic studies of nitrite reduction by the enzyme ccNiR

We are interested in the enzymes that some bacteria use to catalyze ammonia-nitrite interconversion, an ecologically important process. In the bacterium S. oneidensis, Nitrite reduction to ammonia is carried out by the enzyme cytochrome c nitrite reductase" (ccNiR), which we can produce in large quantities and high purity. We will also study nitrite reduction at the ccNiR active site using time-resolved UV-Visible spectroscopy. In brief, ccniR is initially rapidly photoreduced by a 5 nanosecond laser pulse, which is accompanied by a color change. Over the next micro- and milliseconds the electrons are transferred from the ccNiR to nitrite, leading to a second color change. A great deal can be learned about the reaction mechanism by measuring the rates of the reactions under varying conditions.

Tasks and responsibilities:

Under direct supervision, assisting with sample preparation for each set of experiments using our anaerobic glovebox.