Nicolle A. Rosa MercadoUPR CayeyBiol. 3095Prof. E. Diaz and Prof. E. GonzalezHerpesviral Reactivation: A Key Step for Disease DevelopmentThere are many different types of herpes viruses. During this seminar Ms. Olga González discussedfive of them, which were Herpes Simplex Virus (types 1 and 2), Varicella Zoster Virus, HumanCytomegalovirus, Epstein Barr virus, and Kaposi’s sarcoma (KSHV), associated with herpesvirus.She explained the importance of the latency and reactivation processes for these viruses. Ms. Olga’sresearch focuses on KSHV. The understanding of this virus is of extreme importance due to the factthat it is known to cause three different types of cancer: Kaposi’s sarcoma, Primary effusionlymphoma, and Multicentric Castleman disease. Rta, the lytic switch protein, is used for thereactivation process of KSHV and follows these steps: activation of lytic program, establishinglatency, maintaining latency, and reactivation. Reactivation consists of activating most of the viralgenes and it permits productive cycle oncogenes to be expressed. Her research may lead toinnovating discoveries on “molecular piracy” processes and may give our society a betterunderstanding of molecular mechanisms and cancer development.Incorporation of Unnatural Amino Acids into Proteins & Biomedical ResearchDuring this seminar, Miss Jessica Torres gave a brief summary of her research at the North CarolinaState University. She spoke about the investigation of proteins involved in biological processes,and how unnatural amino acids can be used to label proteins. Miss Torres explained theimportance of investigating proteins and stated that they make up fifty percent of the cellular drymass. She also mentioned the protein’s many functions which are signaling, transport, defense,catalysis, maintenance, and stability. An unnatural amino acid has a side chain that differs fromthose found in nature. Unnatural amino acids are incorporated to the protein through the stop codonfound in the polypeptide. Through the seminar, Miss Torres explained the importance of studyingproteins in their natural environment in order to evaluate their functions and effects. It is alsoimportant to be aware that any changes, such as adding one protein to another, compromises thestability of the proteins. This seminar taught me more about innovative investigations involvingamino acids.
Against all Odds: Protein Crystallography and Graduate SchoolIn her seminar, Miss Yadilette Rivera spoke about the research she is working for her thesis atUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research is about three different proteins: GALNS,GLB1, and SGSH. These three proteins are directly linked to lysosomal disorders. The degenerationof enzymes may result in lysosomal storage disorders (Hopwood et.al. 2006). Some examples oflysosomal storage disorders are mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) I, II, and VI, Gaucher disease type I,Fabry disease, and Pompe disease. “In mucopolysaccharidosis type VI (MPS-VI; Maroteaux– Lamysyndrome), an autosomal recessive disease, deficiency of N-acetylgalactosamine- 4-sulfatase leadsto the accumulation of its substrate, dermatan sulfate,in the lysosomes of many cell types2(Hopwood et. al. 2006).” Galsulfase, a glycoprotein which consists of four-hundred and ninety-fiveamino acids, is used to treat MPS VI (Hopwood et.al. 2006). “The ability to treat lysosomal storagedisorders (LSD) has improved dramatically over the past 10–15 years (Hopwood et. al 2006).” MissRivera studies these proteins through X-ray crystallography, which turns the molecule into a unitcell and later into a crystal.Nanotechnology: Providing Tools For the Improved Diagnosis and Treatment of CancerDuring her seminar, Miss Orielyz Flores spoke about how nanoparticles can be used to improvecancer treatment. She explained that treating cancer patients with biodegradable nanoparticles ismore effective than chemotherapy due to the higher specificity. In chemotherapy the drug is spreadthroughout the whole body, causing highly dangerous side effects. The nanoparticles contain nearinfrared dyes, therapeutic drugs, chelated metals, and iodinated molecules. The nanoparticlescontain taxol, which is the drug used in chemotherapy. These nanoparticles could be goldnanoparticles, ion oxide nanotherapy, arum oxide nanoparticles, or polymeric. These are injectedinto the patients and they deliver the therapeutic drug directly to the tumor. The fact that tumortissue has a higher acidity than normal tissue helps the nanoparticle to degrade after the drug hasbeen delivered. The nanoparticles are able to enter the tumor through folic receptors, which are alsoused to control experiments. The final goal to this research is to be able to improve cancertreatments.