Proteostasis of E. coli and Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK 293T) Cells Under Heavy Metal Stress

Open Access
Bollinger, Samuel Swails
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Xin Zhang, Thesis Supervisor
  • Pshemak Maslak, Honors Advisor
  • Protein
  • Aggregation
  • mammalian cells
  • heavy metal
Heavy metals are known to have toxic effects in both microbes and humans. Some, such as silver, copper and gold, have been used as antimicrobial agents for decades, while others, such as lead and mercury, have been the cause of severe environmental toxicity in many notable instances. While the general effects of such heavy metals have been well studied in both microbes and humans and the mechanism of toxicity of many are understood, this work introduces a new method of detecting and visualizing heavy metal-induced proteome stress in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells using novel fluorogenic sensors. AgHalo, protein-based sensor, was used to detect and measure protein aggregation induced by the environmental presence of heavy metals while CHW-128, a small-molecule sensor, was used to detect environmental heavy metal-induced protein aggregation in mammalian cells. The use of these sensors facilitates explicit detection and visualization of proteome stress in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.