Yu CaoFollow

Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dabney W. Dixon


Anthraquinone (AQ) derivatives with relatively high reduction potentials have been synthesized to afford good candidates for electron transfer studies in DNA. Electron withdrawing groups on the anthraquinone ring gave derivatives with less negative reduction potentials. The anthraquinone imide (AQI) derivatives had reduction potentials less negative than AQ derivatives. The AQI ring system was subject to base-induced hydrolysis.

Water-soluble sulfonated tetraarylporphyrins have been studied in a wide variety of contexts. Herein, we report the first synthesis of a pentasulfonated porphyrin bearing an internal cyclic sulfone ring. Treatment of 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphyrin (TPPS4) with fuming H2SO4 gave a structure consistent with initial sulfonation followed by dehydration to give a sulfone bridge between an ortho-position of one of the phenyl groups and a β-pyrrole position on the porphine ring (TPPS4Sc). The structure was established by ESI-MS and 1HNMR. The Soret absorption is red shifted by about 32 nm compared to that of TPPS4.

Streptococcus pyogenes obtains iron by taking up heme from the environment during infection. One of the heme uptake pathways is the Sia or Hts pathway. The initial protein in this pathway is Shr, which has two heme-binding NEAT domains, NEAT1 nearer the N-terminus, and NEAT2 nearer the C-terminus. We report biophysical characteristics of these two NEAT domains. To assess stability of this domain towards heme release, denaturation studies of the Fe(II) and Fe(III) forms were performed. For each domain, both the Fe(II) and the Fe(III) forms behave similarly in thermal denaturation and guanidinium denaturation. Overall, NEAT2 is more stable than NEAT1. Spectral signatures, sequence alignment and homology modeling for both domains suggest that one of the axial ligands is methionine. NEAT2 autoreduces as the pH increases and autooxidizes as the pH decreases. Heme uptake from the host environment is the only iron acquisition pathway in S. pyogenes; inhibition of this pathway might be an approach to infection control. Compounds that might inhibit the heme uptake pathway were selected via virtual screening.

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