Dr. Yong Zhang
Project Description and Objectives
Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are a class of amphipathic compounds on the cell surface that play extremely important roles in cellular signaling. They are involved in a range of pathological processes and some GSLs have even shown potential therapeutic effects on cancer and neuronal degenerative diseases. Sphingolipid ceramide N-deacylase (SCDase) catalyzes reversible reactions in which the amide linkage in glycosphingolipids is hydrolyzed or synthesized. SCDases show great value for the enzymatic synthesis of glycosphingolipids. The enzymatic properties of SCDase from Shewanella alga G8 (SA_SCD) have been systematically characterized. The optimal pH values for the hydrolytic and synthetic activity of SA_SCD were pH 6.0 and pH 7.5, respectively. SA_SCD showed very broad substrate specificity both in hydrolysis and synthesis. Importantly, SA_SCD has a broad specificity for acyl donor acceptance, especially for unsaturated fatty acids and fatty acids with very short or long acyl chains. The broad fatty acid specificity and high catalytic efficiency make it a suitable biocatalyst for the synthesis and structural remodeling of glycosphingolipids.
The objective of the project is to solve the crystallization problem of SCDase and probe the structure basis of both its hydrolytic and synthetic activity.
Employ multiply biochemical and biophysics techniques to solve the crystallization problem of SCDase
Probe the structure basis of its both hydrolytic and synthetic activity