Project

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Environmental photochemistry of amino acids, peptides and proteins

English title Environmental photochemistry of amino acids, peptides and proteins
Applicant McNeill Kristopher
Number 138008
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Biogeochemie und Schadstoffdynamik ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geochemistry
Start/End 01.01.2012 - 31.12.2014
Approved amount 490'000.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Geochemistry
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences

Keywords (5)

Environmental fate; Proteins; Photochemistry; Amino acids; Natural organic matter

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

This project is focused on the breakdown of amino acids and proteins in sunlit natural waters.  It is motivated by the fact that amino acids are both an important source of nitrogen for microbes at the base of the food web and susceptible to damage by sunlight.  Further motivation comes from the fact that proteins, as enzymes, play an active role in numerous element cycling processes.  Just how stable these enzymes are in natural waters is a fundamental question for which there is presently no answer.  This project will provide laboratory data that will help answer this question of the stability of amino acids and proteins in sunlit waters.  The project is organized into sub-projects each of which addresses a different aspect of the problem.  Some sub-projects will assess transformation reactions of individual amino acids, while others will focus on entire proteins.  An important component of the project is to elucidate how amino acids and proteins interact with organic matter that is present in such systems.  This project will support the training of one postdoctoral researcher and two doctoral students.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Photochemical and non-photochemical transformations of cysteine with dissolved organic matter
Chu Chiheng, Erickson Paul R., Lundeen Rachel A., Stamatelatos Dimitrios, Alaimo Peter J., Latch Douglas E., McNeill Kristopher (2016), Photochemical and non-photochemical transformations of cysteine with dissolved organic matter, in Environmental Science and Technology, 50, 6363-6373.
Photooxidation of the Antimicrobial, Nonribosomal Peptide Bacitracin A by Singlet Oxygen under Environmentally Relevant Conditions
Lundeen Rachel A., Chu Chiheng, Sander Michael, McNeill Kristopher (2016), Photooxidation of the Antimicrobial, Nonribosomal Peptide Bacitracin A by Singlet Oxygen under Environmentally Relevant Conditions, in Environmental Science & Technology, 50(16), 8586-8595.
Aquatic photochemical kinetics of benzotriazole and structurally related compounds
Janssen Elisabeth M. L., Marron Emily, McNeill Kristopher (2015), Aquatic photochemical kinetics of benzotriazole and structurally related compounds, in Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 17(5), 939-946.
Assessing the Indirect Photochemical Transformation of Dissolved Combined Amino Acids through the Use of Systematically Designed Histidine-Containing Oligopeptides
Chu Chiheng, Lundeen Rachel A., Sander Michael, McNeill Kristopher (2015), Assessing the Indirect Photochemical Transformation of Dissolved Combined Amino Acids through the Use of Systematically Designed Histidine-Containing Oligopeptides, in Environmental Science & Technology, 49(21), 12798-12807.
Enhanced Indirect Photochemical Transformation of Histidine and Histamine through Association with Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter
Chu Chiheng, Lundeen Rachel A., Remucal Christina K., Sander Michael, McNeill Kristopher (2015), Enhanced Indirect Photochemical Transformation of Histidine and Histamine through Association with Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter, in Environmental Science & Technology, 49(9), 5511-5519.
Environmental Photoinactivation of Extracellular Phosphatases and the Effects of Dissolved Organic Matter
Janssen Elisabeth, McNeill Kristopher (2015), Environmental Photoinactivation of Extracellular Phosphatases and the Effects of Dissolved Organic Matter, in Environmental Science and Technology, 49(2), 889-896.
Dual roles of dissolved organic matter as sensitizer and quencher in the photooxidation of tryptophan.
Janssen Elisabeth M-L, Erickson Paul R, McNeill Kristopher (2014), Dual roles of dissolved organic matter as sensitizer and quencher in the photooxidation of tryptophan., in Environmental science & technology, 48(9), 4916-24.
Environmental Photochemistry of Amino Acids, Peptides and Proteins
Lundeen Rachel A., Janssen Elisabeth M.-L., McNeill Kristopher (2014), Environmental Photochemistry of Amino Acids, Peptides and Proteins, in Chimia, 68, 812-817.
Reactivity differences of combined and free amino acids: Quantifying the relationship between three-dimensional protein structure and singlet oxygen reaction rates
Lundeen Rachel A., McNeill Kristopher (2013), Reactivity differences of combined and free amino acids: Quantifying the relationship between three-dimensional protein structure and singlet oxygen reaction rates, in Environmental Science & Technology, 47, 14215-14223.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Tamar Kohn, EPFL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Stanford University, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Seminar to Luthy Research Group Individual talk Effects of organic matter towards fate of biomolecules and pollutants. 11.08.2014 Stanford, United States of America Janssen Elisabeth Marie-Louise;
248th American Chemical Society National Meeting Talk given at a conference Reactivity of dissolved organic matter towards direct and indirect photochemistry of pollutants and biomolecules. 09.08.2014 San Francisco, United States of America Janssen Elisabeth Marie-Louise; McNeill Kristopher;
Case Western Reserve University, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Seminar Individual talk Reactivity of dissolved organic matter towards direct and indirect photochemistry of pollutants and biomolecules. 30.06.2014 Cleveland, United States of America Janssen Elisabeth Marie-Louise;
Gordon Research Conference on Environmental Sciences: Water Poster Reactivity of dissolved organic matter towards photochemistry of pollutants and biomolecules 22.06.2014 Plymouth, New Hampshire, USA, United States of America McNeill Kristopher; Janssen Elisabeth Marie-Louise;
Goldschmidt Conference Talk given at a conference The Environmental Photochemistry of Dissolved Combined Amino Acids 25.08.2013 Florence, Italy McNeill Kristopher; Lundeen Rachel Anna;
245th American Chemical Society National Meeting Talk given at a conference Singlet oxygen-mediated photodegradation of dissolved combined amino acids (DCAAs) 07.04.2013 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America Lundeen Rachel Anna; McNeill Kristopher;
245th American Chemical Society National Meeting Poster Examining the range of 1O2 reaction rate constants of photooxidizable residues in a representative protein 07.04.2013 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America Lundeen Rachel Anna; McNeill Kristopher;
International ReNUWIt symposium on sunlight-mediated processes Talk given at a conference The Environmental Photochemistry of Amino Acids and Proteins 02.04.2013 Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, United States of America McNeill Kristopher; Lundeen Rachel Anna; Janssen Elisabeth Marie-Louise;
Gordon Research Conference on Environmental Sciences: Water Poster Indirect photodegradation of dissolved combined amino acids (DCAAs): Reaction of singlet oxygen with model proteins 24.06.2012 Plymouth, New Hampshire, USA, United States of America McNeill Kristopher; Lundeen Rachel Anna;
Gordon Research Conference on Environmental Sciences: Water Poster Fate processes of the enzyme phosphatase in natural water 24.06.2012 Plymouth, New Hampshire, USA, United States of America McNeill Kristopher; Janssen Elisabeth Marie-Louise;
Gordon Research Seminar: Environmental Sciences: Water Talk given at a conference Indirect photodegradation of dissolved combined amino acids (DCAAs): Reaction of singlet oxygen with model proteins 23.06.2012 Plymouth, New Hampshire, USA, United States of America Lundeen Rachel Anna; McNeill Kristopher;
University of St. Thomas Chemistry Seminar Individual talk The Environmental Photochemistry of Amino Acids and Proteins 22.06.2012 St. Paul, USA, United States of America Lundeen Rachel Anna; McNeill Kristopher;
Mahatma Ghandi University Erudite Scholar Seminar Talk given at a conference The Environmental Photochemistry of Amino Acids and Proteins 19.01.2012 Kottayam, India, India Lundeen Rachel Anna; McNeill Kristopher;


Awards

Title Year
Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT/SCS) Chemistry Travel Award 2013 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
127568 Physical and chemical processes that lead to virus inactivation at solid-water interfaces - a combined computational and experimental approach 01.01.2010 Sinergia
159809 Environmental photochemistry of amino acid-based biomolecules 01.07.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)
159809 Environmental photochemistry of amino acid-based biomolecules 01.07.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)
156198 Electron transfer properties of photoexcited natural organic matter 01.04.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)
188565 Reactivity-based characterization of photoexcited natural organic matter 01.02.2020 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Amino acids, oligopeptides and proteins are central building blocks of life and of key importance in the biogeochemistry of aquatic systems. In these systems, amino acids at different levels of structural organization are susceptible to oxidation by photochemically generated reactive oxygen species. While photochemical transformation therefore plays a key role in the environmental fate of amino acids, oligopeptides and proteins in surface waters, there are as of yet only few systematic studies on this topic. This proposal aims to fill gaps in our knowledge regarding the environmental photochemistry of amino acid-based compounds in aquatic systems.The specific objectives of this proposal are to (1) Characterize the photochemistry of freely dissolved cysteine, cystine, and of small cysteine-containing oligopeptides; (2) Assess the extent to which humic-sorbed amino acids and peptides experience enhanced phototransformation; (3) Determine the effect of protein structure on the indirect photochemistry of its photolabile amino acid residues; and, (4) Evaluate the effect of oriented protein sorption to humic substances on amino acid photochemistry. The work plan is organized into three Subprojects that will be carried out by two PhD students and a postdoctoral researcher. The expected scientific outcomes include achieving the immediate goal of improving the understanding of amino acid photooxidation in surface waters at the molecular level. This understanding is expected to benefit the larger environmental science communities, from researchers studying sulfur and nitrogen element cycling to those elucidating the role of extracellular enzymes in nutrient acquisition. In addition, we expect to make methodological advances that will aid in the study of macromolecules in natural water and on the sorption of ionogenic organic compounds to natural organic matter. The proposed project will also achieve education outcomes that include the education of two PhD students and training of a postdoctoral researcher. In addition, six related master thesis projects are anticipated. Numerous synergisms are expected to arise from the parallel projects on distinct yet closely related topics.
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