Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Donald Hamelberg

Second Advisor

Stuart Allison

Third Advisor

Giovanni Gadda


Enzymes are ubiquitous in biological systems. They catalyze chemical reactions and are involved in many biochemical processes. The enzyme of interest is Pseudomonas aeruginosa D-arginine dehydrogenase (PaDADH). This flavin-dependent enzyme is composed of approximately 375 amino acid residues and has a broad substrate specificity with D-amino acids. A water recognition motif, observed in roughly 1200 non-redundant protein data bank (PDB) structures, was revealed to be embedded near the active site of PaDADH. This motif coincides with the conformational changes of the enzyme’s gated mechanism. Molecular dynamics simulations were carried out to study the gated properties and structural characteristics of PaDADH in solution. Single amino acid mutations were undertaken to further understand the dynamics of the gated mechanism of this enzyme. In addition, pKa,shift analyses were evaluated to probe for the basic catalytic amino acid residue that is suggested to trigger the catalytic mechanism of PaDADH.