Office of Undergraduate Research

The Structure of Wild-Type Human Renalase in Complex with Catechols

In 2006 Desir et al., discovered a enzyme that is produced in kidney, brain and heart tissue. This enzyme, named renalase, has the ability to lower blood pressure for sustained periods. In vitro data for this enzyme are highly inconclusive, while a number of articles have been published none of them can say they have definitively identified the natural substrate. Much of the effort to date revolves around catecholamine neurotransmitters and in particular epinephrine, due to the fact that the earliest observations observed a decrease in blood epinephrine at elevated renalase levels. Epinephrine levels could be influenced by many factors and we intend to systematically examine each of these pathways to identify the native substrate. We hope to identify the true substrate for renalase and solve the structure of the enzyme with this substrate bound.

Tasks and responsibilities:

The student will learn the processes of crystallography: protein purification, protein crystallization, structural elucidation and enzyme assays and kinetics. These methods will be used to harvest structural and kinetic data that describes the physiological function of renalase.