Undergraduate Maryam Ali—under the guidance of Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Karlo Lopez—has undertaken two years of research on lysyl oxidase, or LOX, a copper-requiring enzyme that catalyzes the formation of intra-protein cross linkages to provide structural stability to connective tissue. In addition to being involved in connective tissue repair, LOX also may play an important role in other biological functions, including developmental control, tumor suppression, and cell motility.

Dr. Lopez’s research group recently developed ways to stably express the protein in a non-denaturing, aqueous environment, opening the way for biochemically and genetically characterizing the functionality of the enzyme. Using recombinant mutagenesis, the research is currently investigating the effects of the systematic removal of the five disulfide linkages found within the native protein.

Partially made possible by the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, Ali presented her research at the American Chemical Society National Conference.