Title

Serotonin Synthesis via Tryptophan-Producing E. coli

Presenter Information

Lauren Anderson

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Biological Sciences

Research Advisor

Westenberg, David J.
Shannon, Katie

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Some individuals who have had traumatic brain injury (TBI) are no longer able to produce enough serotonin (5-HT) which can affect learning, memory, emotional behavior, as well as a variety of other physiological functions. Tryptophan, which is required to produce Serotonin, is not produced in mammalian cells. My proposal uses E. coli to synthetically produce tryptophan. These genes will be cut out of E. coli and cloned into stem cells so that the mammalian cells will be capable of producing tryptophan, and subsequently 5-HT, on their own. These stem cells, which would only be used in patients who have had a TBI, will, I hypothesize, produce tryptophan which interacts with tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (Tph2) to form 5-HTP. 5-HTP will then interact with naturally occurring 5-HTP decarboxylase to synthesize the needed Serotonin. When there is enough Serotonin, it will be degraded by naturally occurring Monoamine oxidase (MAO).

Biography

Lauren is a junior majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Chemistry and Cognitive Neuroscience. Besides working on this project proposal, Lauren has recently gotten involved in iGEM, and is currently being trained to work in the lab. In addition to her work with biology, Lauren is an active member of Zeta Tau Alpha and works part-time in the Development office on campus. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering on and off campus, hiking, and painting. When she graduates in December 2015, Lauren will have a Bachelor’s of Sciences degree. She intends on getting her Master’s degree in Biochemistry and would like to continue doing research in Neurology.

Research Category

Research Proposals

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Award

Research proposal poster session, Third place

Location

Upper Atrium/Hall

Presentation Date

16 Apr 2014, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Apr 16th, 1:00 PM Apr 16th, 3:00 PM

Serotonin Synthesis via Tryptophan-Producing E. coli

Upper Atrium/Hall

Some individuals who have had traumatic brain injury (TBI) are no longer able to produce enough serotonin (5-HT) which can affect learning, memory, emotional behavior, as well as a variety of other physiological functions. Tryptophan, which is required to produce Serotonin, is not produced in mammalian cells. My proposal uses E. coli to synthetically produce tryptophan. These genes will be cut out of E. coli and cloned into stem cells so that the mammalian cells will be capable of producing tryptophan, and subsequently 5-HT, on their own. These stem cells, which would only be used in patients who have had a TBI, will, I hypothesize, produce tryptophan which interacts with tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (Tph2) to form 5-HTP. 5-HTP will then interact with naturally occurring 5-HTP decarboxylase to synthesize the needed Serotonin. When there is enough Serotonin, it will be degraded by naturally occurring Monoamine oxidase (MAO).