Nam Dao L&S Biological Sciences
Selective methionine targeting of Ctr1 to modulate copper transport
My project hopes to uncover a potentially novel method of chemotherapy by depriving cancer cells of copper, an essential nutrient that they depend on for survival! Since copper transport in all human cells (healthy or otherwise) is mostly mediated by the protein Ctr1, my research hopes to create a chemical probe that would selectively bind to this protein, preventing it from bringing copper into the cells. Ctr1 stands out in another way: it has by far the highest concentration of methionine out of all extracellular proteins within the human proteome. This special feature allows for the design of a methionine-binding probe that would only target Ctr1 function, thus helping with efficacy and efficiency. My task is to look into the synthesis of various candidate designs for such a probe, then verify their effectiveness by measuring copper levels before and after the probes are applied. Afterwards, I hope to compare the designs to each other and decide on a definitive option!