We have less than a month of INBRE left, that means it is crunch time! Time to start narrowing down and finalizing what to put on our posters along with deciding how we are going to present our research. With this in mind, I have had to really buckle down and get this protein to work with me. Thankfully, I had some luck in solubilizing my protein in a couple fatty acid “buffers” and also with a HisLink purification technique.
The protein I am working with is called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) which is a protease secreted by the bacteria Prevotella intermedia. It has been challenging to work with because of the fact that it does not like water given that about 45% of the amino acids it is made up of are hydrophobic which is pretty remarkable. The organism P. intermedia is a normal part of the microbiome found in people’s mouths but, when given optimal conditions, is linked to a variety of oral diseases ranging from the common condition gingivitis to the devastating disease Noma. DPP4 is believed to be the main contributor in all this. Unfortunately, it has been poorly studied -- I only found around 20 academic articles that were even somewhat relevant to my project compared to the hundreds my fellow INBRE students were sorting through for their projects. So, the goal of my INBRE project is to figure out how to purify DPP4 in order to better characterize it later on in hopes of finding an accessible treatment for those affected by diseases caused by P. intermedia.
I have continued to learn about the scientific community and what goes on behind the scenes including conference etiquette, what academic journals expect when publishing, and how to talk to the general public about how cool science is. It has been super interesting to learn about other fellows’ research and how everyone is contributing to biomedical research as a whole. I think the INBRE conference is going to be extremely rewarding for all of us since we will get to talk about what we have dedicated our summers to and show off all our hard work spending countless hours in the lab.