Undergraduate student Juniata College Framingham , Massachusetts, United States
Carolyn Morningstar (Juniata College)| William Ames (Juniata College)
All organisms that perform aerobic respiration, respiration in the presence of oxygen, create reactive oxygen substrates (ROS) like superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. To handle these ROS, bacteria have evolved multiple enzymes, including superoxide dismutase and catalase, to neutralize the chemicals into less reactive chemicals, which have evolved into different “families” dependent on what metal is used as the co-factor in the active site of the enzyme. Knowing the structure of an enzyme can be very insightful in gaining a better understanding on how that enzyme is able to function but the process of determining the structure through X-ray crystallography can be time consuming and not always practical. Here we propose using phylogenetic trees and molecular modeling to better understand the bacterial manganese families of superoxide dismutase and catalase and gain a better understanding on how to use these tools to model similar bacterial enzymes in the future.