Zehra Sayers

Zehra Sayers
Tel: 0 - 216 - 4839509
E- Mail: zehra@sabanciuniv.edu


1. Metal-binding proteins:

Metallothioneins (MT) are a class of metal-binding proteins that are involved in heavy metal detoxification and regulation in a wide range of organisms from fungi to mammalian systems. We are interested in engineering metal scavengers that can be used either in situ or in free environment  for phytoremediation of heavy-metal polluted soils and for metal recycling using metallothionein metal centers as models. The results can also be used to engineer heavy-metal resistance in other economically important plants such as tomato, corn, and soybean.
We identified a novel metallothionein gene in pasta wheat (T.durum) and are in the process of cloning the mt for overexpression of the recombinant protein in E.coli. T.durum MT will be purified for structural studies using X-ray solution scattering and X-ray crystallography. A recombinant GFP-MT fusion protein will also be expressed for easy localization of the protein in transgenic plants.

People working on this project: K. Bilecen and Ü. Öztürk

Collaboration: Dr. İ. Çakmak, Sabancı University and Dr. M. Koch EMBL Hamburg

Grant: Supported by Julich-TUBITAK bilateral program.

2. G-proteins:

Heterotrimeric G-proteins are involved in signal transduction in different species. We are interested in understanding the role of G-proteins in pathogen response in plants. Currently we are in the process of cloning the alpha and gamma subunits of  A. thaliana G-protein. The recombinant proteins will be overexpressed in E. coli. Structure determination will be carried out using X-ray crystallography and protein-protein interactions will be studied using X-ray solution scattering on reconstructed complexes. We also aim to construct recombinant subunits with chromophores for detecting the G-protein complexes in situ.

People: S. Bakkal, Ç. Seçkin and M. Şahin

Collaboration: Dr. B. Kan Marmara University and K. Brown, Imperial College, UK.

3. Development of novel materials and systems for biological assays:

Here we aim to engineer a novel flexible gene expression system that can be used for immobilisation and detecting functional activity of proteins, enzymes etc. Such systems could serve as a basis for single step assay-detection kits. The expression system under construction is derived from pETM-11 of  EMBL and will use built-in additional components e.g. chromophores for detection and adaptors for immobilisation.

People: E. Şahin

Collaboration: Dr. A. Taralp, Sabanci University.

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