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Publications (2)4.66 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Bile acids deactivate certain enzymes, such as prolyl endopeptidases (PEPs), which are investigated as candidates for protease-based therapy for celiac sprue. Deactivation by bile acids presents a problem for therapeutic enzymes targetted to function in the upper intestine. However, enzyme deactivation by bile acids is not a general phenomenon. Trypsin and chymotrypsin are not deactivated by bile acids. In fact, these pancreatic enzymes are more efficient at cleaving large dietary substrates in the presence of bile acids. We targeted the origin of the apparently different effect of bile acids on prolyl endopeptidases and pancreatic enzymes by examining the effect of bile acids on the kinetics of cleavage of small substrates, and by determining the effect of bile acids on the thermodynamic stabilities of these enzymes. Physiological amounts (5 mM) of cholic acid decrease the thermodynamic stability of Flavobacterium meningosepticum PEP from 18.5 ± 2 kcal/mol to 10.5 ± 1 kcal/mol, while thermostability of trypsin and chymotrypsin is unchanged. Trypsin and chymotrypsin activation by bile and PEP deactivation can both be explained in terms of a common mechanism: bile acid-mediated protein destabilization. Bile acids, usually considered non-denaturing surfactants, in this case act as a destabilizing agent on PEP thus deactivating the enzyme. However, this level of global thermodynamic destabilization does not account for a more than 50% decrease in enzyme activity, suggesting that bile acids most likely modulate enzyme activity through specific local interactions.
    The Protein Journal 10/2011; 30(8):539-45. · 1.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Real-time PCR (rt-PCR) is a widely used molecular method for detection of Neisseria meningitidis (Nm). Several rt-PCR assays for Nm target the capsule transport gene, ctrA. However, over 16% of meningococcal carriage isolates lack ctrA, rendering this target gene ineffective at identification of this sub-population of meningococcal isolates. The Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase gene, sodC, is found in Nm but not in other Neisseria species. To better identify Nm, regardless of capsule genotype or expression status, a sodC-based TaqMan rt-PCR assay was developed and validated. Standard curves revealed an average lower limit of detection of 73 genomes per reaction at cycle threshold (C(t)) value of 35, with 100% average reaction efficiency and an average R(2) of 0.9925. 99.7% (624/626) of Nm isolates tested were sodC-positive, with a range of average C(t) values from 13.0 to 29.5. The mean sodC C(t) value of these Nm isolates was 17.6±2.2 (±SD). Of the 626 Nm tested, 178 were nongroupable (NG) ctrA-negative Nm isolates, and 98.9% (176/178) of these were detected by sodC rt-PCR. The assay was 100% specific, with all 244 non-Nm isolates testing negative. Of 157 clinical specimens tested, sodC detected 25/157 Nm or 4 additional specimens compared to ctrA and 24 more than culture. Among 582 carriage specimens, sodC detected Nm in 1 more than ctrA and in 4 more than culture. This sodC rt-PCR assay is a highly sensitive and specific method for detection of Nm, especially in carriage studies where many meningococcal isolates lack capsule genes.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(5):e19361. · 3.53 Impact Factor