Julia Zuercher

By William & Mary

This campaign ended on April 23, 2016, but you can still make a gift to William and Mary by clicking here!

Connecting Energy Metabolism and Neurodegeneration: Pyruvate Kinase and Oxidative Stress

Pyruvate kinase (PK) is a key enzyme in glycolysis, the first step to converting sugar into energy. PK has sulfur-containing amino acids called cysteines that are key for its regulation and function. Normally in cells, these cysteines are reduced, which means that each sulfur is bound to a hydrogen atom. This gives the enzyme a specific structure and function. Sometimes, however, other processes in the cell err and produce oxygen molecules with an extra electron, called reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can cause significant damage. Stress caused by these oxidants increases with age and has been linked to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. For PK, the strong attractive forces of an oxidant will take the hydrogen away from sulfur atoms in cysteines. To compensate for the loss, two cysteines will interact and form a disulfide bridge, which changes the shape of PK and potentially affects the enzyme’s ability to function. This project seeks to determine the extent to which an ROS changes the function of PK and whether or not a reduced environment could undo this damage. It is possible that PK protects itself and shields more sensitive molecules from oxidative damage, such as those involved in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

All William & Mary Honors Fellowships fundraising supports the Charles Center Honors Fellowships Fund. Direct support for individual undergraduate research projects is distributed by the Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence. To learn more about Honors Fellowship, please visit our About page. If you have questions, please visit our FAQ page.


US Heat Map
Loading


Donor affiliations

72% Alumni

Show list


15% Friends

Show list

Donor list
marie cruz metzger
Ginny YoungbloodGinny Youngblood photo
Anonymous
Deborah Grissett
Anonymous
Linda McBride
Jacob Daniels

Loading

No Matches

No Challenges