One project in the lab of IPiB faculty member Michael R. Sussman investigates a proton pump present in plant and fungal cells. The pump converts the chemical energy of ATP into an electrical and chemical gradient of protons known as a proton motive force as it moves protons to the outside of the cell. This proton motive force is then used by the cell’s other transporters, including channels and co-transporters, so that essential nutrients, hormones and other molecules can be moved in and out of the cell. Using a technique called crosslinking mass spectrometry, which analyzes protein-protein interactions, Thao Nguyen revealed how this proton pump is regulated. Her work gives a new understanding of how one end of the protein — the C-terminal domain — regulates the overall pump activity, helping to explain the molecular mechanism by which this important nexus of several signaling systems in the plant, helps the plant to hasten or slow growth.
To learn more about her work, attend her Thesis Defense on Friday, Oct. 4 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 1211 of the HFD Biochemical Sciences Building.